Ronda Rousey's victory in March over Miesha Tate opened the conversation that she was the new "face of women's MMA," but surpassing Gina Carano's mark of 88,483 Twitter followers would prove there's little argument over her taking the mantle for good.
Rousey Is Less Than 3,000 Followers From The Lead
In this digital age of social media networking, a celebrity's number of Twitter followers is obviously a great indication of their overall popularity.
Rousey, who is slated to fight Sarah Kaufman on Aug. 18 in San Diego, CA, is close to the 86,000 Twitter follower plateau from her official Twitter handle @rondarousey, less than 3,000 off the pace of Carano (@ginacarano). By the time her upcoming fight goes on, it appears likely that she'll surpass Carano's tally of 88,483.
Rousey's profile has been on the rise since earning the Strikeforce women's bantamweight title in March, and following it up with strategic smack-talking about Kim Kardashian and an appearance on the cover of ESPN the Magazine's 2012 Body Issue, boosted her popularity to new heights.
The Rise of Rousey
Rousey's meteoric rise took just a year and a half, as she was fighting on the amateur circuit in late-2010 and early-2011. It's incredible that just 18 months later, she would be a world champion and the face of women's MMA.
What a difference three years can make. On Aug. 15, 2009, Carano squared off against Cristiane Santos in a Strikeforce event in San Jose, CA, in what was billed as the biggest women's MMA fight of all-time.
That may have been true, but just 36 months later, Carano isn't active in the sport and Santos was suspended due to testing positive for an anabolic steroid. Carano's decision to pursue an acting career, combined with Santos' suspension, was the perfect storm for Rousey's emergence.
The sport definitely needed an elite female fighter to step up and take the reigns as the face of women's MMA. Rousey captivated fight fans at the perfect time, and it just so happened that she had the good looks and marketable personality to back up her fighting skills.
"She's A Rock Star"
"She's a rock star man," UFC President Dana White said of Rousey at the UFC on Fox pre-fight presser. "She's been fantastic. She's been killing it for us. I just hope that we can some really good fights for her. I love Ronda Rousey,man. I do."
Rock star, indeed. Who else besides Rousey can say they want to beat the crap out of Kim Kardashian and get rewarded for it with free publicity on TMZ?
Carano's 2012 was a far cry from Rousey's successful year, as her movie debut in "Haywire" didn't quite live up to the hype. The film earned just $32.4 million worldwide, opening questions about Carano's future in Hollywood.
Is Ronda Rousey the undisputed face of women's MMA? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of mixed martial arts. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
- Martial Arts
- Arts & Entertainment
- Ronda Rousey
- Gina Carano
- Kim Kardashian