Ronda Rousey hasn’t set foot in the UFC Octagon yet, but may already be the biggest crossover star mixed martial arts has ever seen.
“People can say whatever they want about(Rousey); she shouldn’t be headlining or whatever. I don’t give a (expletive) if you’re Royce Gracie, if you are Dan Henderson, or (Lyoto) Machida, Tito (Ortiz), Chuck (Liddell), go through the laundry list of guys who have been stars in this company. Nobody in the history of this company will have more new media following them than Ronda Rousey will,” UFC president Dana White told MMAWeekly.com.
Rousey, an Olympic Judo Medalist, is undefeated in her mixed martial arts career. She has finished every opponent in the first round by the same move, an armbar submission.
“Already the stories she’s done: Time Magazine, she’s one of the 30 for 30 Forbes athletes. She’s in there with Lebron James, Real Sports on HBO. The L.A. Times is following her for a month and doing a font page story on her,” said White.
“The list goes on and on and on of media that has never, ever covered this event, or have never given us the coverage they’re giving us for Ronda Rousey, in the history of the sport. Not just the 13 years that we’ve been here, all the way back to the old days,” added the UFC president.
White officially announced at the UFC on Fox 5: Henderson vs. Diaz pre-fight press conference that Rousey is the first UFC women's bantamweight champion, and presented her with the belt.
Rousey will defend her women’s bantamweight belt against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 in the main event at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Feb. 23. She and Carmouche will make history as the first female fight inside the UFC Octagon.