A year ago, women’s UFC didn’t exist.
Now there are 17 female UFC fighters, and the women’s bantamweight title fight is one of the signature events of UFC 168.
Ronda Rousey is a big reason for the sudden rise of the sport.
She defends her title against Miesha Tate in UFC 168 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
With her trash-talking personality, good looks, incredible backstory, and unmatched skill in the ring, she has almost single-handedly paved the way for women in UFC.
But afterward, she had no job to fall back on: '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 her next opponent: 'If I get her in an armbar, I'm gonna try to rip it off and throw it at her corner.'
She also trash-talked Michael Phelps and Kim Kardashian, saying Kim was only famous for her sex tape.
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.'
She made the sport mainstream in a way it had never been before, becoming host of 'The Ultimate Fighter.'
She opened the door for more female fighters to join UFC. Her opponent, Miesha Tate, is actually the fan favourite heading into UFC 168.
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