Ronda Rousey Joins WWE in Full Time Role After Making First Appearance at Royal Rumble

Ronda Rousey has inked a contract with WWE in a full time role with the promotion

Ronda Rousey is going from the UFC Octagon to the squared circle in WWE.

Following months of rumors that Rousey was nearing a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment to join the promotion, the former UFC women’s champion finally made her first appearance on Sunday night at the annual “Royal Rumble” event.

Rather than actually entering the match, Rousey appeared at the very end of the show as her signature music — “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett — hit the speakers as she walked out to more than 17,000 fans in Philadelphia coming unglued.

Rousey walked down the aisle with a giant smile on her face before confronting the three women standing in the ring — WWE champions Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss as well as Royal Rumble winner Asuka — before pointing at a sign hanging overhead promoting WrestleMania.

WrestleMania is the WWE’s biggest annual event and Rousey will undoubtedly make an appearance at the show.

After the event was over, it was reported by ESPN that Rousey has inked a deal to join the WWE in a full time capacity, putting her fighting and acting careers on hold to focus on her future in professional wrestling.

“This is my life now. First priority on my timeline for the next several years. This is not a smash-and-grab; this is not a publicity stunt,” Rousey said. “When I first met with Triple H, I told him, ‘There are other things I can do with my time that’ll make way more money, but I won’t enjoy nearly as much.'”

Rousey is a life long pro wrestling enthusiast, which is where she got her nickname from famed performer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who passed away in 2015.  Rousey actually wore one of Piper’s leather coats down to the ring for her first appearance as a gift from his son as she starts a new career in WWE.

Rousey hasn’t appeared in the UFC since 2016 when she lost to current women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in just 48 seconds. Since that time, Rousey has never officially retired from the sport but by all accounts there are no plans for her to return.

Rousey has long flirted with a career in WWE after making a brief appearance at WrestleMania back in 2015 when she got involved in a staged encounter involving Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as well as Paul “Triple H” Levesque and his wife Stephanie McMahon. Rousey also appeared at the WWE Mae Young Classic last year supporting her friend Shayna Baszler, who is also signed to WWE and currently performing in their developmental league known as NXT.

“It’s funny — it’s kind of like acting, in that it was something I always wanted to do but I never thought was in the cards for me,” Rousey said. “And now that I realize I really do have this opportunity, I feel like my 6-year-old self would totally kick my ass if I didn’t take it.”

Just minutes after Rousey appeared in WWE for the first time, her first apparel already showed up on the WWE’s website.



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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.