Whether you are a fan of MMA and UFC or not, you have got to know the name Ronda Rousey. Everyone in the English-speaking world has heard of it, and there are probably people beyond the English-speaking realm who know about this kick-butt fighter. Ronda is a 29-year-old California native who went from being a developmentally-challenged young girl to a worldwide champion and role model. She has appeared in Sports Illustrated, she has competed in the Olympic Games, she has placed Number One in various competitions, as well as taken home too many gold medals and honors to count. She is amazing and she has certainly come a long way. In fact, we invite you to take a look at these 15 Photos That Show Ronda Rousey’s Transformation and then take some time to reflect.
It takes a lot of guts to compete in judo, mixed martial arts, and the UFC events. Worldwide, people will know you for your wins and losses, for the injuries you sustain and how you deal with them. For how tough you really are in a fight, not just in the staredowns and the smack talk. Ronda has proven herself time and time again, and she has even helped other fighters and even wrestlers in the WWE pack some serious punches to their opponents. You are going to love walking down memory lane and seeing the incredible metamorphoses of this fantastic woman. Talk about a role model! Ronda shows women everywhere that they can be sexy, strong, powerful, take-charge, and feminine.
15. Taking on Amanda Nunes
In this eye-catching photo, we see two UFC fighters preparing to go head-on in the ultimate showdown. Ronda is prepping for battle against Amanda Nunes, and we can see the fire in her eyes. While we can’t see Amanda’s face in this picture, we can imagine that she is staring Ronda down; but Ronda is pushing back with full might and power, and that look she is giving Amanda is one of pure determination. Heck, Ronda is trained in mixed martial arts, judoka, judo, and she is a UFC star. This staredown took place before the UFC 207 face-off, and MMA fans came out to take a look at these two women show that they meant business. Amanda had to defend her title in this game, and she was ready to do battle against Ronda. This was guaranteed to be a good fight, and Ronda carried herself in a way that made her appear confident and primed for action. We’ve seen her come so far.
14. Crashing WrestleMania 31
When there is a WrestleMania event, you can bet that there are going to be hundreds of thousands of people watching. So it was with WrestleMania 31, which saw The Rock going up against Triple H. Things started to get super heated in the ring, and eventually Stephanie McMahon got involved and threw a slap in the face to The Rock. Ouch. it was at this point that The Rock saw Ronda hanging out in the crowd – ringside – and so he approached her and asked her to come and help defend him in the ring against Triple H and McMahon. Ronda obliged and the result was magnificent. She delivered blow after blow to Triple H and McMahon, hurling Triple H over her shoulder in an impressive judo move and twisting McMahon’s arm to the point of her begging and screaming for mercy. The crowd was going wild for this! After all, when The Rock asks for your help, you know you’ve made it.
13. Up Against Nunes
Enough with staring; put your money where your mouth is! It was finally time for Ronda and Amanda Nunes to go head-to-head, and it was a much anticipated fight, indeed. This was especially because Ronda was making a name for herself for delivering punches, judo hurls and knee kicks to her opponents. It’s amazing! People have been trying to get Ronda to stay in the UFC ring, from professionals and managers to fans, as Ronda expressed her desire to take some time off. She said that she wanted some time off to recover from some injuries and to get into the right mental headspace. We can understand that, even though she will be deeply missed from all of the action. After all, she is a mega star in UFC! All you have to do is take a look at this photo, of Ronda dishing out a leg chokehold on her opponent, to see that she has solidified herself as one of the greats in UFC history.
12. Defeating Ediane Gomes
Another kick-butt photo of Ronda includes this one in her fight against Ediane Gomes. While fighting in the 2011 King of the Cage: Turning Point in Tarzana, California, Ronda delivered such a beating to Ediane that the opponent had to beg for mercy and totally tap out of the first round. The first round! Even during this fight, in which she totally dominated, Ronda was recovering from an injury. In fact, she prepped beforehand by ensuring her twisted ankle was okay, sneakily putting on an ankle brace inside out so that it wasn’t as obvious. She was not going to let an injury hold her back from a fight she so desperately wanted to participate in. Another thing to remember is that Ronda was going against an opponent who was actually 4 pounds over the weight limit. Oh well, no trouble for Ronda – really. This photo is pure proof of that!
This fight from January 2011 showed that Ronda was “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, even though she might have been a bit of a newbie at the time of the fight. She was up against a 19-year-old, and it took only 24 seconds in the first round for the action to cease. This was because Ronda delivered some expert judo moves to her opponent, then raised her up and dropped her to the ground. The ref actually had to call off the fight, because Ronda’s opponent was getting so torn up. This was a fight in which Ronda showed the UFC world – and beyond – that she meant business and that she wanted to be the best. We have seen her grow ever since that fight in 2011, and she is now one of the mega stars of UFC and Mixed Martial Arts. In fact, it was right after this fight that Ronda decided to drop out of the amateurs and head on over to the big times: the pros.
10. 2008 Beijing Olympics
To let the world know that she was super serious about being in the big times, Ronda competed in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, in the judo event. She was up against some debilitating opponents in an exciting judo match that had them both delivering awesome moves and giving each other quite a fight. Ronda was up against an opponent that was taller and perhaps more agile than her, but it’s not as if the odds were totally stacked against Ronda. Both women made it into the Olympic Games, which is a huge deal and means that they both have the prowess and power to make it big. Ronda has come such a long way since this 2008 fight, but it’s always nice to revisit the beginnings of a great legend. This photo of the Olympic action shows Ronda pounding into her opponent and hurling her over her shoulder in a traditional judo move.
9. Pan-American Games
Winning gold is always an exciting feeling, and back in 2007, Ronda snatched the gold medal at the Pan-American Games. However, this was not even her first gold medal or her first victory as a judo fighter. Ronda had already snagged some impressive credentials in her young age. She was the World Junior Judo Champion, as well as the Birmingham World Cup Champion from the games in Great Britain. In fact, Ronda was already known around the world for her mixed martial arts moves and judo prowess. She was already a force to be reckoned with! Seeing this 2007 photo only shows us how much she has grown since then – physically and mentally. She has blossomed into a gorgeous woman who also happens to be able to kick anyone’s behind. In this photo, we see a young lady who is poised, confident, and gracious about her victory. Soon she will know rightly so that she deserves those medals.
8. First World Cup Win
There is a first for everyone, even for Ronda Rousey. This photo shows her very first gold medal win in the Judo World Cup in Great Britain in 2006. Smiling happily with her gold medal, Ronda was proudly repping the United States of America as one of their greatest fighters. Even in her young age, she was already something to be talked about, and there was much speculation that she would continue her judo career – which she did, beautifully, going on to the Olympics, MMA, UFC, and much more. Ronda did so much in the world of judo, that by the time she was 21 years old, she decided to break away from the sport and clear her head. That is when she started to get more involved with Mixed Martial Arts fighting and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. We are still unsure of what 2017 holds for this mega fighter, but we hope to see her in action again!
7. Making Waves
Even as a teenager, Ronda Rousey was not someone to be messed with. She had the moves, she had the confidence, and she had the nerve to get in people’s faces and deliver the punches and kicks they were asking for. She blew people away by joining the United States Judo Team at the ripe young age of 15. The next year she was ranked Number 1 in the women’s half-middleweight division. At 16 years of age, she was already in possession of gold medals from the Pan-American Championships as well as the World Junior Judo Championships. She was a big deal, and she joined the United States Judo Team again for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, earning a bronze medal. This photo shows perfectly the determination and spirit on Ronda’s face as she engaged in judo matches against pivotal opponents. We can also see the increase in agility and confidence as she takes even swipe, punch, and knee to her opponent’s body.
This photo shows a triumphant (and young!) Ronda Rousey, as she places her hands high in the air and flashes an infectious smile to celebrate her victory. As the digital leaderboard displays her name: “Winner Rousey R,” the world will know that Ronda is one of the greatest judo fighters on the planet. What an accomplishment for someone who is not even a legal adult yet! We can see from this picture that Ronda worked so hard to get to that point of victory and celebration. Her hair may be matted and sweaty from fighting, her hands all chalked up for a better grip, but that smile and the twinkle in her eye lets us know that she is so proud of her efforts, and others were, too! We all know what happened from there. Ronda quit the judo world of competing at age 21 to move onto the Ultimate Fighting Championships and Mixed Martial Arts events.
5. Blast From the Past
This photo of Ronda from Santa Monica High School is so cute that we almost squealed with delight. In this black and white picture, we see a young Ronda smiling innocently for the camera. It’s a simple yearbook photo, but who would have thought that this young woman was going to become one of the greatest judo and UFC personalities of all time? Did she know this when she was smiling for the camera? Was she just wishing desperately to get out of school so that she could practice, compete, and fight all the time? We know that Ronda has some serious dedication to her craft. She has spent nearly half of her life training for competitions and major events. She has become a role model to other women who felt less than or not up to par with society’s standards of what a woman should be. Ronda has proven to us all that women can kick butt and look good doing it.
4. Ronda the Child Prodigy
This girl was born to fight, let’s just say that. Take a look at this photo and you’ll see that competing in judo and mixed martial arts was just in Ronda’s blood from a young age. She was meant to do this! Now, Ronda did not have an easy life, not at all. In fact, it is somewhat of a miracle that she is so eloquent and capable, considering that she nearly suffocated when she was born (she had an umbilical cord wrapped around her neck upon delivery!) Even so, Ronda flourished into a totally wonderful little girl, and this picture proves that she was indeed very capable and a quick learner. How many youngsters are able to pick up a sport like judo and hone that craft so well that by the time they are still in their single digits, they can lift someone? While in elementary school, she was encouraged by her mother to participate in judo, and the rest is history, as they say!
3. A Sense of Humor
Proving that she is just like everyone else (kind of,) Ronda spent her younger years being a typical child and adolescent. In this adorable family photo, we see Ronda having fun with her mother and some friends. They are all wearing mustaches, just as a little joke. This is a serious throwback photo, if there ever was one! Ronda’s father actually ended up getting into a horrific accident when she was just a young girl, and it left him paralyzed and depressed, so much so that he resorted to suicide when Ronda was just 8 years old. That is a lot for a young girl to deal with, and perhaps judo was just that outlet that she needed to vent the frustration and pour her heart into something. Sometimes we think of great celebrities and stars as people who are above us, but Ronda is actually a down to earth person who understands real life struggles.
2. Little Champ
Nothing like a little girl in a judo uniform, holding a certificate of achievement to make your heart swoon. Just take a look at this adorable picture of Ronda Rousey as a child and your heart will absolutely melt. Sure, when we think of Ronda now, we think back to her numerous wins in judo championships, mixed martial arts, and the UFC events, or even to her sexy photo shoots and cover display for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition. Ronda has become an international symbol of being sexy, strong, and powerful. Somehow, she expertly combines all of these qualities and melds them together into something that we don’t see everyday. If we look back to the old days, we can remember that Ronda was a little girl and she had dreams and aspirations as well. She overcame hardship within her family and even within herself (she had a speech impediment and struggled in school,) and now she is AMAZING.
1. Family Portrait
In case you really wanted to get the feels, take a look at this Rousey family portrait from back in the day. Ronda was born in 1987, and she lost her father to suicide when she was just 8 years old, but her mother was a supportive woman and encouraged Ronda to be the best she could possibly be. That meant seeking refuge from academic problems and development issues in judo. Participating in judo allowed Ronda to be her own true self, to discover things about herself and her body and mind, and to really let her spirit flourish and become something truly special. As corny as it sounds, we wonder if Ronda would be in the position she is in now if her mother had not introduced her to judo and pushed her to expand her horizons. We don’t think so, but who knows? We do know that Ronda is a fab role model.