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Why Did Ronda Rousey Quit MMA? All You Need to Know About UFC’s First Female Champion’s Career

Ronda Rousey disclosed that the reason for her departure from the UFC and entry into professional wrestling was not solely prompted by her defeat to Amanda Nunes in 2016. Renowned as one of the greatest female fighters, ‘Rowdy’ faced adversity when Holly Holm, a former boxing World champion, secured a memorable victory over her through a second-round knockout at UFC 193 in 2015. This defeat deeply affected Rousey and had a noticeable impact on her subsequent fights.


Why did Ronda Rousey retire from the UFC?

In a recent interview with Daniel Cormier, the former UFC bantamweight champion revealed the underlying reasons for her departure from MMA, noting, “I think it was difficult in both judo and MMA, in that everyone else felt that they wanted more from me… Like, in judo you peak in your mid-20s. I medaled at 21 so I was going to be 25 for the next Olympics. Everyone’s like, ‘Oh this is it. You’re going to be the first [American woman] to win an Olympic gold,’ And I didn’t want it anymore, you know. And I couldn’t do it for everybody else.”

She continued, “And I think that’s a mistake that I made with MMA, was when I got to that point where I didn’t want it anymore, I kept doing it for everybody else.“


After experiencing consecutive losses to Holm and Nunes, Rousey made the surprising decision to retire from MMA. Despite being in her physical prime. Notably, Rousey faced immense emotional challenges after her losses to Holm and Nunes. Following the defeat to Holm, she admitted to contemplating suicide and questioning her self-worth without the UFC championship. Less than a year later, Rousey officially retired from MMA and began her transition to professional wrestling. In a recent interview with Daniel Cormier, she discussed the difficulties she faced during that time, emphasizing the importance of making decisions for oneself rather than solely seeking the approval of others.

Rousey didn’t specify the exact moment during her UFC career when she realized her passion was fading, but she acknowledged that it took her setbacks near the end of her career to understand that she had been competing for the wrong reasons.

Ronda Rousey’s UFC career

Ronda Rousey had a remarkable UFC career, becoming one of the highest-paid fighters of her time. She achieved numerous milestones and left an indelible mark on the sport.

Rousey’s journey in the UFC began in 2011, and she quickly rose to prominence. Known for her fierce fighting style and dominant performances, she became the first-ever women’s bantamweight champion in 2012. This achievement catapulted her into the spotlight, earning her the reputation of a force to be reckoned with. During her prime, Rousey achieved a series of spectacular victories, racking up an impressive 10-fight winning streak. She showcased her skills with lightning-fast finishes, earning the record for the fastest win in a women’s title fight when she defeated Cat Zingano in just 14 seconds at UFC 184 in 2015.


However, every fighter experiences setbacks, and Rousey was no exception. Her undefeated streak came to an end in 2015 when she faced Holly Holm. In one of the sport’s biggest upsets, Holm delivered a devastating head-kick knockout in the second round at UFC 193. This loss shook the MMA world and served as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of the sport.

Rousey’s next fight, against Amanda Nunes in 2016, also ended in defeat. Nunes proved to be a formidable opponent, defeating Rousey by TKO in just 48 seconds. These back-to-back losses marked a turning point in Rousey’s career, leading her to reassess her future in the sport.

In 2018, Ronda Rousey was inducted into the prestigious UFC Hall of Fame, leaving her mark as one of the fiercest fighters in the octagon. With this accolade, she cemented her status as a true trailblazer, paving the way for future generations.

Ronda Rousey’s WWE Run

Ronda Rousey’s WWE career was a significant chapter in her life, where she re-emerged as one of the highest-paid performers of her time. She achieved notable milestones and faced both triumphs and controversies along the way.


After transitioning from MMA to professional wrestling, Rousey made her WWE debut in 2018. Her arrival created a buzz of excitement, as fans anticipated her crossover success in the squared circle. Rousey wasted no time in making an impact, quickly capturing the Raw Women’s Championship in her rookie year. Her victory came at SummerSlam 2018, where she defeated Alexa Bliss to claim the title. This achievement marked a major milestone for Rousey and showcased her adaptability and athleticism in a new combat arena.

via Getty

During her WWE tenure, Rousey became known for her intense in-ring performances and signature moves. She possessed a natural flair for storytelling, captivating audiences with her wrestling skills and larger-than-life persona.

However, Rousey’s time in the WWE was not without setbacks and controversies. In 2019, she faced a backlash from some fans and fellow wrestlers who accused her of being given preferential treatment due to her mainstream appeal. This controversy sparked heated debates and added an extra layer of scrutiny to Rousey’s performances.


In addition, Rousey encountered a career-altering setback in 2019. During the main event of WrestleMania 35, she defended her Raw Women’s Championship in a Triple Threat match against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. The match concluded with Rousey losing the title, ending her undefeated streak and signaling a shift in her WWE journey.

While her WWE career had its share of ups and downs, Rousey’s impact on the industry cannot be denied. She brought a new level of mainstream attention and athleticism to women’s wrestling, inspiring a generation of aspiring female wrestlers to follow their dreams.

Will Ronda Rousey ever return to the UFC?

After retiring from mixed martial arts, Ronda Rousey remains open to a potential return if one specific fighter catches her attention. Although she has not participated in MMA since her defeat to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December 2016, Rousey has found success and prosperity in the world of professional wrestling. However, during her appearance on the Kurt Angle Show, ‘Rowdy’ revealed one such fighter for whom she could reconsider entering the octagon again.

The UFC HoFer stated, “There’s only one person I would come back for… For Gina, man. Gina Carano. She’s the reason why I got into fighting. She’s the reason why I knew it was a possibility. I will always be forever grateful.” She added, “If she ever was like, ‘Ronda, I want to fight you tomorrow what, you know, 205 pounds’, like whatever the hell you want. I’m not saying she’s 205 pounds…If she wanted to come into my backyard and do like you know, the Rocky thing or you know, ‘ding ding’ and we just do it in the backyard, I don’t care. I will fight Gina wherever she wants.”

Having said that, the possibility of that happening is little to none. However, her journey in the UFC certainly makes for a legend of the sport.

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