Ronda Rousey returns to the ring for the first time since November 2015 when she takes on Amanda Nunes on Friday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the bantamweight title at UFC 207.
Rousey has made it clear that the only thing in her sights this week is getting back on top. Before succumbing to Holly Holm in November 2015, Rousey was a perfect 12-for-12 in fights and emerged as an icon for not just women's MMA fighting but the entire landscape of the UFC.
Some believe her legacy may be on the line as she returns to the Octagon. Regardless of the fight's outcome, Rousey has solidified her legacy as one of the best fighters in a budding sport and a figure that has helped it blossom.
She can lose in Las Vegas this weekend and walk away from the sport for good to focus on an equally impressive entertainment career. She could also silence the doubters and critics that have emerged since she hit the ground at UFC 193 while also bidding adieu with the bantamweight title belt in her hands once again.
Below is a timeline of Rousey's career and the lead-up to her highly anticipated return and potential swan song:
2008 – Beijing Olympics
At just 21 years old, Ronda Rousey captured the first Olympic medal in judo by an American athlete when she won bronze in Beijing.
Aug. 2010 – MMA debut
Rousey won her amateur MMA debut against Hayden Munoz. A YouTube user shared the video in 2010 and nailed the caption, writing: “Don't blink and make sure to follow this girl. She's for real.”
March 2011 – Professional debut
Rousey made her professional MMA debut at King of the Cage: Turning Point. As seen in the video below, she submitted Ediane Gomes with ease as she locked her in her armbar just 25 seconds into the fight.
February 2012 – Domestic violence incident
In her autobiography, My Fight, Your Fight, Rousey recalls an incident when she assaulted an ex-boyfriend two weeks before her first fight with Miesha Tate. The incident spurred from Rousey's discovery that he photographed her naked without her consent or knowledge. Rousey writes, “I slapped him across the face so hard my hand hurt.” He did not fight back, but when he tried to drive away, she assaulted him more.
March 2012 – First fight of Miesha Tate rivalry
Months of trash talk had created an intense rivalry for the headlining match at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Rousey secured a second armbar during the final minute of the first round and Tate gave into submission. Rousey was crowned the new bantamweight champion, but perhaps more importantly, women's MMA fighting now had the UFC's attention.
February 2013 – UFC debut
As one of the budding stars of the sport and a growing internet sensation, Rousey was chosen for the first-ever female UFC fight. Rousey relied on her armbar again to beat Liz Carmouche with just 11 seconds remaining in the first round at UFC 157 in Anaheim.
December 2013 – Rousey vs. Tate Round II
Rousey needed only 58 seconds to record her eighth consecutive armbar victory and defend her bantamweight title.
November 2015 – Loses bantamweight title to Holly Holm
Rousey defended her title six times and compiled an 11–0 record before suffering the first loss of her career with a surprising second-round knockout to Holly Holm at UFC 193.
January 2016 – Hosts Saturday Night Live
Rousey became the first MMA fighter to host the iconic late-night comedy show. Her other on-screen credentials include appearances in the Expendables series, Furious 7 and Entourage. She has also reportedly been working on MGM's reboot of Road House.
February 2016 – Featured on cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue
Rousey was featured on one of three covers in just her second year modeling for the magazine.
February 2016 – Appears on Ellen, reveals suicidal thoughts
Rousey made one of her first public appearances since her loss to Holm and revealed that she had contemplated suicide following her loss.
“Honestly, my thought in the medical room, I was sitting in the corner and was like, 'What am I anymore if I'm not this?'’ Rousey told Ellen DeGeneres. “Literally sitting there thinking about killing myself. In that exact second, I'm like, 'I'm nothing. What do I do anymore? No one gives a s— about me anymore without this.”
Rousey credits her boyfriend, UFC heavyweight Travis Browne, for helping her get through the depression.
June 2016 – Knee surgery
Rousey underwent a minor knee procedure, but was told that she could return in time for a possible bout in December.
October 2016 – Dana White announces Rousey's return for UFC 207
The bantamweight belt has changed hands three times since Rousey's loss. Dana White announced that Rousey will fight Amanda Nunes for the title upon her return. Nunes defeated Tate, who defeated Holm.