No athlete dominates their sport like Ronda Rousey.
The 28-year-old has won every UFC fight she has fought, beating some of her opponents in less than a minute. In the process, she has elevated women’s MMA and made it a key component of UFC — something that was hard to envision five years ago.
But before she became a crossover star, she was a regular 20-something struggling to figure out what to do after dedicating her life to making the Olympics.
But afterward, she had no job to fall back on, telling MTV, 'There's nothing put in place for Olympians after they're done. They give you a couple grand, a handshake, and they kick your arse out the door.'
She took a graveyard shift at a 24 Hour Fitness in California while trying to figure out what she wanted to do.
In 2010, she returned to fighting at an MMA gym in Los Angeles. She said, 'I need to win and I need to do this quick because I'm tired of living with the cockroaches and eating frozen vegetables.'
In just seven months, she went from an out-of-work ex-Olympian to a professional MMA fighter, winning her first fight in 25 seconds.
In her fifth career fight, she won the Strikeforce bantamweight title and became the sport's biggest trash-talker.
She once said about an opponent: 'If I get her in an armbar, I'm gonna try to rip it off and throw it at her corner.'
But despite the newfound fame, women's MMA still didn't make her a lot of money. She told SI about her financial situation, 'I couldn't retire, but I'd be chilling for a while.'
The UFC scooped her up immediately, making her its first female fighter ever. CEO Dana White, who previously vowed to never employ a female fighter, said, 'I think she's going to be a big superstar.'
Since then she has won five UFC fights. Only one opponent made it out of the first round without getting knocked out of submitted.
She made the sport mainstream in a way it had never been before, becoming host of 'The Ultimate Fighter.'
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