The turbulent life of Ronda Rousey

Star athlete Ronda Rousey is a woman to be feared in the ring, but outside of it, she has had plenty of personal issues to battle through. This is her story.

The early years

Ronda Jean Rousey was the third daughter of parents Ron Rousey and AnnMaria De Mars and was born on February 1, 1987. Her mother was a keen judo player and went on to become the first winner from America to win a world championship in the sport!

Rousey had a problematic birth after she was born with her neck being wrapped in the umbilical cord, which caused a close graze with death after suffering from no oxygen. The delivery left Rousey slightly brain damaged growing up.

Death of her father

Rousey experienced great tragedy during her childhood. While sledding as a family, Ron had an accident that led to him breaking his back. The injury led on to him discovering a disorder in his blood that would prevent him from being able to heal correctly.

Ron found the accident would leave him paralyzed from the waist down, which would later lead to him being a quadriplegic during the few short years he was given left. Ronda Rousey was just 8 years old when her father took his life.

A tough time at school

Rousey had already struggled with her speech until she was 6 years old, due to her problematic birth, and began to struggle even further after trying to cope with recent events. She started to find it difficult during her classes and was taken out of mainstream school where she could be homeschooled for a lot of her elementary school and high school education. Her mother came up with a solution to help her daughter overcome her difficulties, and would lead her to the sport she is so famous for now!

Beginning of her career

It was at just 11 years old that Rousey’s mother first started to teach her the ways of judo. The two trained together for two years until Rousey broke her mum’s wrist accidentally! After that Rousey began to train professionally with larger men and would become frustrated at not being able to throw them.

By 15 she was welcomed onto the Olympic team for the United States. The following year Rousey was ranked at number one nationally in the half-middleweight section for women, becoming the youngest ever American to receive the title!

Going for gold

Even though Rousey had qualified to be on the Olympic team, she was unable to win a medal at the 2004 Olympics held in the game’s home city of Athens. Determined not to end the year medal-less, Rousey amazingly took home gold in Hungary at the world championships for the sport.

Two years after her success, in 2006, Rousey took home gold in the UK, and was the first U.S. female to win a tournament of A-level in close to 10 years!

Heavier weight

During February in 2007, Rousey found herself upgrading to a new division and began fighting in the 70kg category. This was an incredible move as she found herself becoming ranked in the top three of women judokas around the globe!

The same year Rousey was able to win her third gold medal, and second silver while competing in Rio de Janeiro. These medals would quickly go into Rousey’s collection, and the young athlete was getting an incredible reputation for herself as an astonishing judoka, following in her mom’s footsteps.

Incredible Olympics

During 2008 Rousey was able to redeem herself at the Beijing Olympics. Devastatingly Rousey lost out at her chance for gold after losing in the quarterfinals. However, as the results were so close, Rousey was given a second chance to qualify for the next round.

Amazingly she was able to defeat her competitor and won a bronze medal! The win meant that Rousey was the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo since it had become a sport in the Olympics.

A change of career

Rousey made the decision to retire from the sport aged just 21 years old following on from her success at the Olympic games. She found herself a new roommate, and the pair moved into an apartment in California together.

However, Rousey found this to be incredibly hard work, as she had to work three different jobs just to be able to afford a life for her and her pet dog. Working as a cocktail waitress and bartender, however, wasn’t what Rousey really wanted to do…

Fighting for a career

Back when Rousey waslearning the art of judo, she trained with two men that would go on to become professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters. Her fellow teammates went on years later to talk about how they believed Rousey would be able to beat any of the other women competing in MMA, but that they thought her face was too sweet to be hit. Deciding that a life of regular jobs wasn’t for her, Rousey went on to pursue a life working in MMA.

First fight

In August 2010 Rousey was able to have an incredible first in her very own MMA debut! Rousey used a move known as the armbar, a movement in which the opponent’s arm is stretched out fully and is ‘locked’ in place by the fighter using their whole body. Her debut fight only lasted 23 seconds, but that wasn’t a bad thing as it was Rousey that landed victorious! For a first time try you couldn’t ask for a better result… But was it just luck?

Reigning victorious

Rousey went on to incredibly defeat a veteran of the sport in just 57 seconds and another opponent in only 24 seconds over the next few months! After the phenomenal success of her career as an amateur, Rousey decided that she would take her new job to a professional level.

Following the upgrade, her amateur record holds three wins with no defeats, and her total fighting time for all her matches is less than two minutes. Not bad going, right?

60 seconds or less

After four wins that all lasted under one minute, the decision to turn her MMA career professional seemed like the best thing for Rousey to do. In March 2012, Rousey would be in for a more extended fighting time after her battle to defeat the reigning champion lasted 4 minutes 27 seconds.

She was victorious (of course!), and the win got her a reputation of being able to smack talk before defeating opponents. It was after this fight that Rousey was on the cover of ‘ESPN The Magazine’ for their special ‘Body Issue.’

Fighting patterns

Having been reported as saying her main advantage was her ability to pace herself, Rousey has since been analyzed plenty of times by reporters, fans, and journalists to discover how she is so good at what she does.

Rousey is typically known for her ability to grapple her opponent, as well as her signature move of the armbar, and has been noted to be able to tackle competitors quickly that rely on strikes. Strangely, even though Rousey is dominant with her right hand, she uses her left hand to strike opponents.

Don’t cross paths

It has also been reported by one of Rousey’s sisters that she is, in fact, terrifying to be around in the two-week lead up before any of her fights.

Her sister goes on to explain that she is trying to trim down as much as she can so she is always hungry and is training like mad to make sure she is as fit as can be. It sounds like Rousey is definitely a force to be reckoned with as she is in her preparation stages!

The ultimate fighting machine

There weren’t many people that stood a chance of defeating Rousey at this point, and during November 2012 it was announced that she was to become the first female competitor to sign up with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

The following month it was unsurprisingly announced that she had become the first women’s champion in the sport, and held her title for an incredible 1,074 days! The title would be hard to keep onto though, and there would be some tough fights to come…

Setting records once again

Following on from gaining the title, Rousey was able to set a new and incredible record in UFC history. On February 28, 2015, Rousey and Cat Zingano were set to fight it out in a bid to win the new champion title.

Desperate to defend her crown, Rousey looked as though she wasn’t ready to back down and gave an incredible fight. Setting the record for the shortest match in the history of the sport, the two girls were in the ring for 14 seconds before the fight had been won!

Incredible winnings

In August 2015, it was announced that Rousey had officially beaten yet another competitor that was after her title. The match between the two women lasted only 34 seconds before her opponent Bethe Correia was knocked unconscious and gave Rousey another win. At this time Rousey had spent a total of just 1077 seconds actually fighting in the octagon ring. With the prize money she had won totaling up to more than $1 million, it worked out that Rousey earned over $1,000 per second she was in the ring… Now that’s not a bad salary!

Battling to the end

Over the course of her UFC days, Rousey found herself in seven fights in total. Managing to beat six opponents, and defeating two of the women in less than 20 seconds, Rousey had an incredible track record to maintain!

After nearly three years she finally found an opponent that could match up to her, and Rousey was defeated by Holly Holm in November 2015. The loss was an incredible shock to the fans and saw Rousey have a serious challenge on her hands to regain her title.

Trying to hold it together

During the fight, it was said that Rousey struggled to be able to keep up with Holm’s quick punches, and wasn’t able to get her opponent to the ground where her strengths came into play.

The loss for the star was the first she had ever experienced, but would she ever be able to reclaim her fighting reputation and title? With several long-term injuries to her body, it looked as though this may be the last we saw of the fighting machine…

A year of training

At the very end of December 2016, Ronda Rousey decided it was finally time to make a comeback in an attempt to win back her UFC title! December 30 saw Rousey and Amanda Nunes (the champion at the time) fight it out for the winning spot.

However, unfortunately for Rousey, Nunes was just too good and managed to defeat the former champion in only 48 seconds. The shocking loss once again sent shockwaves through the audience after seeing their hero, who was renowned for being so dominant early on, defeated so quickly.

A long time of silence

Following on from her devastating loss to Nunes, Rousey (who was paid $3 million for the fight) did not speak publicly about the fight for a long time.

The fighter was criticized by analysts who reported that in the amount of time Rousey had between the two matches she should have been able to recover fully and train further. The people analyzing went on to say that she wasn’t able to efficiently jab her opponents and that should’ve been the most important thing to learn.

Never made a recovery

Many fans believe that Rousey never made a full recovery from her loss to Holm the previous year. While Rousey has never confirmed this, people think that the loss hit her so hard that she was never able to bounce back to the peak of her career!

We do know that Rousey contemplated taking her own life after she was unable to snap out of the feelings of depression after she lost to Holm. This could have been put down as the end of her career, but was it?

World of wrestling

During 2014, Ronda Rousey and three other women were nicknamed the ‘Four Horsewomen’ during a WWE match that saw the girls get involved in an argument inside the ring.

Three years later in 2017, the Horsewomen were seen supporting their fellow member from the audience as she starred in her first WWE debut. In the wrestling world, though, there is a rival team that shares the same name as the girls! This could be a recipe for disaster.

Starring film career

As well as being an incredible fighter over the many years of her career, Rousey has also had a successful acting career on the side too! Starring in ‘The Expendables 3’ in 2014, Rousey got the chance to act along some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This wouldn’t be her only big hit as Rousey was in ‘Furious 7’ as a supporting actress alongside Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel!

Not all hits

Over the years Rousey has also been seen to star in many other roles that have all been relatively successful. However, it was announced that a remake of ‘Road House’ was to be filmed starring Rousey as the lead in the film.

The movie was set to be her biggest acting job of her career, but the film was pulled out of the production line as the director decided to work on other project starring other actresses. It is reported this is due to Rousey’s two losses, just to add insult to injury.

4 vs. 4

Since their meeting in September 2017, it appears as though the Horsewomen could all be set to have an incredible match involving all eight teammates. There was a televised confrontation between the group and sparked major questions about where they could all be heading to the wrestling scene.

With one of their friends having just made her WWE debut, could the other three girls be set to follow in their footsteps, or is it just for the publicity? It seems as though that is up to debate!


Having not fought a match since her loss to Amanda Nunes in December 2016, it looks as though the possibilities for Rousey are endless with where she could go.

There are several rumors that the former UFC champion will be set to star in WWE having been a lover of the sport herself, but it has been reported that she hasn’t signed anything with the federation to confirm this. Could talks with WWE star Triple H lead Rousey back into the ring?

Creating a series

Set to be released in October 2017, Rousey’s latest role has seen her working behind the scenes as she produced a documentary series named ‘Why We Fight.’ The show is due to follow fighter Zach Wohlman around the world as he tries to discover why it is we fight in the first place.

It also looks at how people that aren’t well-known struggle to get their names out there, and gives them a chance to tell their stories. The show looks to be fairly graphic, but showcases personal struggles fighters often go through.

Marriage material

Having been known to date other UFC competitors in her time, Rousey officially announced she and Travis Browne (who is currently number 14 in the official rankings for the UFC heavyweight division) were dating in October 2015.

The pair were engaged at the beginning of 2017 when Browne popped the question on vacation in New Zealand. In a seriously romantic gesture, the question was asked underneath a waterfall, and the two later wed in August 2017 in Hawaii, Browne’s birthplace. Totally adorable!

Controversial relationship

In May 2015, Ronda Rousey released an autobiography titled ‘My Fight, Your Fight’ in which she released some secrets of her past. One story the star recounts is of an incident involving an ex-partner of hers that took revealing photographs of her without permission or her knowledge. Rousey reported that she hit her former boyfriend, and when he wouldn’t leave her car, she went on to further the attack. This event prompted her to do the ‘body issue’ shoot so she could have control over who saw those kinds of photos of her.

Social media queen

Not only has Rousey proved herself as a Judo master, professional fighter, movie star and writer, she is also a social media queen!

She has over 9 million followers on her Instagram page, where you can also find photos of her on the red carpet, her cuddling her husband and the insanely cute new addition to their family, a boerboel puppy named Chunk Browne. Just look at that face!

Reality TV star

Recently, Rousey was seen on abc’s mini-reality series called Battle of the Network stars. In the 10-episode event, classic tv stars were split up into teams, where they had to battle against each other in a series of athletic games.

Rousey, of course, was one of the team captains alongside NFL Super Bowl champion DeMarcus Ware. Rousey and Ware led their teams through a variety of challenging events such as a kayak relay, obstacle course, archery and tug-of-war.

New website

The former MMA fighter has been teasing an upcoming website, Although it hasn’t gone live yet, Rousey shared a brief glimpse into the new site with a video montage of her doing everyday things set to Led Zeppelin’s Over the Hills and Far Away.

The video shows her hanging out with friends at the beach, cooking in a messy kitchen, training, and even a quick glimpse of her husband’s proposal!

Music lover

It is clear from Rousey’s Instagram account and her new site that she is a true lover of rock music. She frequently shares with her followers what she is currently listening to.

Marilyn Manson, The Misfits, The Kinks and Nirvana are all on her recent playlist. When she was an MMA fighter, she famously chose the song “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The song fit the fearless fighter perfectly.


Recently, the president of the UFC, Dana White, called this former champion a word never once used before to describe Rousey – “underrated.” On the podcast, Pardon My Sports, White publicly said, “She’s underrated…

Look at what she did. Look at what she built. She started it all.” While he may not have meant to use that specific word, perhaps he was talking about how fans turned on her after her last two losses in her career.

New Rousey

Even though Rousey is now retired from the UFC, other fighters are still trying to beat her records. One in particular is Joanna Jedrzejczyk, the impressive straw-weight fighter who is only one win away from tying Rousey’s record for successful defenses in the ring.

She plans on beating Rousey’s defense record before she takes her shot at becoming a two-weight champion. Looks like there is a new Rousey in the ring!

Showing off scars

A few months ago, Rousey shared a video with her millions of followers which went viral. In the video, Rousey shows off the scars on her hands.

She said, “My hands tell my story because they’re not for show, they’re for doing things.” She continued to say with pride, “I don’t have pretty hands and I am proud of it.” She compared the scars on her hand to a scrapbook that displays all of her accomplishments.

TV guest appearance

Rousey seems to be everywhere these days. She recently graced our television sets with a guest role on NBC’s crime-drama series Blindspot. In the episode, Rousey sported the color orange as a prison inmate.

Having fun

Of course, there are other rumors spreading that Rousey will make a big UFC comeback. However, the president Dana White is not so confident about it.

He said, “She’s actually enjoying herself, she’s having fun. She made a lot of money and she’s enjoying it now.” And he is right, why shouldn’t she enjoy herself? Since Rousey has a passion and talent for acting, then why should she go back to fighting?

Judo teacher

Although her Judo days are far behind her, the former Olympic champ is still finding herself on the mat every now and then.

She is teaching the next generation of Judokos, and even recently shared a bit of her lesson on Instagram. In the video, she is seen showing a young man how to use ashi waza, a foot technique. She lets her partner win however, as she playfully flops to the mat.

Self-confidence issues

Being so involved with a very physical lifestyle since such a young age left Rousey the target of many bullies at school. She reported how during her time at school she was picked on because of her choice in sport and was often told that she behaved in a very masculine way. As a teenager, the fighting star was apparently self-conscious of her body and how it appeared from years of doing the sport, but realized when she was older how amazing she is! Who’s laughing now?