The UFC made a special announcement during the UFC 225: Whittaker vs. Romero 2 pay-per-view broadcast on June 9. The organization’s highest honor has been bestowed upon “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.
Rousey, currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment’s Raw brand, was the first-ever female signed to the UFC and the league’s first female champion after originally capturing the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight championship prior to UFC’s purchase of the promotion in 2013. Now, she’s a UFC Hall of Famer, too.
“This is an immense honor, to not only take part in bringing women to the forefront of this sport but now the UFC Hall of Fame,” Rousey said. “May I be the first of many.”
She will become the first woman inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on July 5 during the UFC’s International Fight Week. Rousey will be inducted into the Modern Wing. The Olympic bronze medalist in judo joins the likes of Forrest Griffin (2013), B.J. Penn (2015) and Urijah Faber (2017) in the wing.
The “Modern Era” section is defined as an honor for “athletes who turned pro on or after November 17, 2000 (when the first UFC event under the unified rules of MMA was held), are a minimum age of 35 or who have been retired for one year or more.”
It should be noted that while the 31-year-old Californian has not competed in MMA since December 2016, she has not formally announced her retirement from MMA. She does not feel a formal resignation is needed.
The UFC has made an exception for the woman crowned the “World’s Most Dominant Athlete” in 2015 by Sports Illustrated. Rousey had an average fight time of just 1:36 in Strikeforce and 3:06 in the UFC. She fought from 2013 to 2017, amassing a 12-2 record (6-2 in the UFC) comprised of nine armbar submission victories and three knockouts.
Rousey also headlined six pay-per-views and holds records for “four of the five fastest finishes in UFC women’s bantamweight history, while her three wins by KO/TKO rank as the second most in UFC women’s bantamweight history. No other fighter in UFC history owns more than two of the five fastest finishes in their respective division,” according to the statement.
Prior to the UFC partnering with ESPN for a five-year, $1.5 billion television rights deal beginning in 2019, Rousey helped put the organization front and center on the network when she won ESPY awards in 2012, 2014 and 2015 for “Submission of the Year,” “Best Female Athlete,” and “Best Fighter,” respectively.
“There would be no women in UFC without Ronda Rousey,” UFC President Dana White said in a statement. “Ronda is an absolute pioneer who helped me personally, and a lot of other people, look at women in combat sports differently. She accomplished everything she set out to do with UFC and became a global icon and role model in the process. Today, the women’s divisions are packed with incredibly talented fighters and they produce some of the best fights you’ll ever see. We’re proud to announce Ronda as the first woman to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.”
Since debuting for the WWE at Wrestlemania 34 in April, Rousey has been paired with current Raw women’s champion Nia Jax (Savelina Fanene) in a title match at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
Coincidentally, the event is scheduled for June 17 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. UFC 225, where the induction announcement was made, emanated from Chicago’s United Center.
Rousey headlines a 2018 Hall of Fame class that already includes Matt Serra (Pioneer wing), the late former UFC producer Bruce Connal (Contributors wing), UFC co-creator Art Davie (Pioneer wing), and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Dan Henderson, which is being inducted into the Fights wing.
The 2018 UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place on Thursday, July 5, at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The event will be streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass at 10 p.m. ET.