WWE-bound Ronda Rousey won’t rule out UFC return in the future

By @saihoops on
Ronda Rousey, UFC, WWE
December 30, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Ronda Rousey before her match against Amanda Nunes during UFC 207 at T-Mobile Arena. USA TODAY Sports / Mark J. Rebilas

Former UFC star Ronda Rousey made her transition to the world of sports entertainment on Sunday (Monday AEDT) when she appeared at the WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view event. However, the first-ever UFC bantamweight champion has not ruled out the possibility of returning to mixed martial arts in the future. 

Rousey, who won a bronze medal in Judo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, wrapped up her career inside the octagon after a humiliating defeat to Brazilian Amanda Nunes on Dec. 30, 2016. It was the second consecutive bout that Rousey had lost, after falling to Holly Holm at UFC 193 on Nov. 15, 2015. Though Rousey never officially announced her retirement, she quietly faded away from the UFC, refusing to address her final two fights that effectively ruined her dominant, 12-0 streak in MMA. 

In her first interview since joining the WWE, Rousey refused to address questions related to her final two bouts against Holm and Nunes. However, she did not rule out a return to the UFC. 

“I think I’d just rather not talk about that (those two losses) right now," Rousey said after a long pause, in a chat with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. Rousey said that joining the WWE was one of her childhood dreams, though she spent most of her life honing her craft in judo and MMA

Ronda Rousey still won’t address last two UC losses

“It’s still hard to realise your childhood dreams not coming true. I think the only thing that really helped was finding something else to devote myself to and be successful at. I think I only was able to get past the Olympics when I started doing MMA. And I do believe there is a parallel there. It still hurts that I didn’t win the Olympics. It sounds ridiculous to a lot of people, right? ‘You’re an Olympic medallist, you should be happy.’ But it would be hard to explain that to my 10-year-old self that was so sure she was going to win the Olympics," said an emotional Rousey. 

The WWE and UFC had previously come to terms on a one-fight contract to allow Brock Lesnar to fight Mark Hunt at UFC 200. Lesnar, still employed by the WWE, has been rumoured to return to the octagon at some stage in 2018. While Rousey has reportedly committed to a multi-year deal with the WWE, she could follow Lesnar's route and go back-and-forth between MMA and professional wrestling. 

Ronda Rousey is not first combat athlete to crossover to the world of WWE. In 2008, Floyd Mayweather Jr. stepped into the squared circle for a match against The Big Show at WrestleMania 24. The difference, however, is that unlike other crossover stars, Rousey will perform as a full-time wrestler, appearing on WWE's weekly television programming and monthly pay-per-view events.