Former UFC superstar Ronda Rousey signs with WWE as professional wrestler

Rousey made a shock appearance at Monday's (NZT) Royal Rumble.
Rousey made a shock appearance at Monday's (NZT) Royal Rumble. Photo credit: Getty

Former UFC superstar Ronda Rousey has signed on as a full-time professional wrestler with the WWE.

Speculation has been swirling for months that the 30-year-old would join the promotions ranks after stepping away from the Octagon in late 2016.

At the conclusion of Monday's (NZT) Royal Rumble, one of the WWE's marquee annual events, Rousey made an 'unscheduled' appearance to announce her decision to join the sports entertainment behemoth's roster.

"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 told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

"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.'"

An Olympic bronze-medallist in 2008, Rousey is considered a trailblazer for women's combat sports, becoming the first truly transcendent athlete MMA had seen after making the transition from a decorated career in Judo.

After winning the UFC bantamweight title in 2012 she went on an unprecendented reign of dominance in which she won 12 straight fights. Eleven of those she finished in the first round with her patented armbar submission.

In late 2015 she suffered a devastating knock-out loss to Holly Holm which saw her step away from the sport for over a year. She didn't fare any better in her comeback bout against Amanda Nunes in December 2016, the first-round TKO loss putting a permanent end to a famed MMA career.

She's no stranger to the realm of entertainment, having made a number of film appearances in the likes of Entourage, The Expendables 3 and Furious 7.

A longtime wresting fan, Rousey's fighting moniker "Rowdy" is borrowed from legendary pro wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper who gave her his blessing to adopt the nickname.

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