Not that long ago, mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey was not only the hottest act in combat sports, but an in-demand crossover star as well. WWE counted themselves as lucky to get her for a WrestleMania 31 segment, and the popularity of her scene with The Rock, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon spawned numerous rumors about the pro wrestling company’s hopes of landing her for more appearances as soon as possible.
Then she got knocked out by Holly Holm to lose her UFC bantamweight title. Rousey admittedly struggled with the aura-shattering end to her championship run, and disappeared from the spotlight.
Now she’s back and getting set to headline UFC 207 in Las Vegas on Dec. 30, fighting Amanda Nunes (who beat Miesha Tate, who beat Holm, in Ronda’s absence) to reclaim the strap. But in an appearance on Ellen which is set to air later today (Nov. 1), she says her return to the Octagon is going to be short-lived:
I'm wrapping it up. This is definitely one of my last fights. So everyone better watch. The show isn't going to be around forever.
It’s a nice piece of showmanship, which is part of why she was UFC head man Dana White’s favorite before Conor McGregor, but given her other aspirations and how tough it was for her to bounce back from the Holm knockout, it’s also believable that the 29 year old would planning her exit from shoot fighting.
Could WWE be next for the lifelong pro wrestling fan?
Her path to Hollywood stardom isn’t clear, both because her absence from MMA removed her from the public eye and because she didn’t exactly blow away critics or audiences with her work in Expendables 3 or Entourage (Fast 7 did great at the box office, of course, but nobody’s crediting Rousey’s small role for the success of the latest installment of a Vin Diesel/Dwayne Johnson franchise). Ronda was supposed to front a remake of the cult classic Road House, but filming was delayed several times during her hiatus and there’s been no word on the project for months. Her autobiography was optioned for a film she was going to star in, but there’s been no news on that in the year-plus since it was announced, either.
While that all may be bad news for the Rousey brand in Tinseltown, it could be good news for Vince McMahon. Sure, she’s not the mega-star who popped Levi’s Stadium for Mania back in 2015, but WWE would still love to have her in their women’s division, or for a storyline with Stephanie, the woman they believe to be their biggest star.
That’s all down the road however, and how far down the road probably depends on how she looks against Nunes next month.
Do you think we’ll see the Rowdy One in a WWE ring some day? Do you care?