Ronda Rousey could make a surprise return to the UFC scene if commentator Jon Anik is to be believed.
Rousey retired from the sport in 2016 after becoming one of its first major female stars. In 2018, she signed up to WWE, debuting at WrestleMania 34. Since then, she’s won the Raw Women’s Championship and the 2022 women’s Royal Rumble match.
She also headlined the first and so far only WWE pay-per-view event to feature an all-woman line-up, further underlining her ability to draw a sizeable crowd.
Why would Rousey return to UFC?
It’s that same star power that leads Anik to believe a UFC return may be beneficial to both Rousey and the sport as a whole.
UFC has taken a significant blow in recent months following the retirement of Amanda Nunes, another major star, whose defeat of Rousey in 2016 was part of the reason the 36-year-old decided to move on from the sport.
The fight was an embarrassing occasion for Rousey, who’d hoped to redeem herself after losing to Holly Holm the previous November, but lasted just 48 seconds with Nunes, failing to land even a single punch on her opponent.
Nunes’s own departure leaves the sport lacking in major stars and, following the merger between UFC and WWE in April this year, Anik believes the timing may be right for Rousey to step back into the octagon. “If anyone is worthy of that type of opportunity, it’s probably Ronda Rousey,” he told MMA Fighting.
“And I do believe she would be competitive because she would not enter that setting without the guarantee that she would be competitive.
“I’m not gonna sit here and suggest she’d be a betting favourite against Julianna Pena or Raquel Pennington, but I can understand why people would be excited at the possibility.”
However, Anik believes Rousey should have to work for her place and not be given a free pass to compete at the highest levels. “In a true meritocracy, that’s just not gonna sit well with me, nor that athletes that have been donating blood, sweat, and tears to mixed martial arts over the last several years,” he added.
Rousing support for Ronda
If Rousey does return to UFC, it would undoubtedly be welcomed by fans. Despite her long absence from the sport, her performances in WWE have kept her following strong and she’s remained in the public eye by appearing in films and on TV shows.
She’s currently starring in the FOX reality series ‘Stars on Mars’, in which she and a team of fellow celebrities including Lance Armstrong and NFL cornerback Richard Sherman strategize ways to survive in a fictitious space station that’s crashed onto the red planet.
Rousey is the only woman to be both a UFC champion and a WWE champion and was voted by fans as the best female athlete of all time in an ESPN poll. Alongside her MMA and wrestling careers, she’s also highly skilled at Judo, and won bronze for her country at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Written and distributed by Chat T Sports.