With her recent 34-second beat-down of Bethe Correia in Rio de Janeiro, multiple big acting gigs on the horizon, a fresh New York Times profile, a Men's Fitness magazine cover, and a love life that has officially been scrutinized by the media, it's safe to say that Ronda Rousey has become one of the most famous female athletes—scratch that, one of the most famous athletes, period.
Aside from her exceptional talent, the fact that the UFC champion is using her celebrity status to promote body confidence and the power of hard work makes us love her even more. Here are five times Rousey made us swoon.
When she silenced her body-shaming critics once and for all
Earlier this year Rousey shutdown critics who called her body too masculine by saying: "Listen, just because my body was developed for a purpose other than f—ing millionaires doesn’t mean it’s masculine. I think it’s femininely badass as f— because there’s not a single muscle on my body that isn’t for a purpose."
And now the mixed martial artist has one final warning to anyone who wants to share any mean-spirited thoughts about her physique: you should probably think twice. “I swear to God,” Rousey told the New York Times in a new interview, “if anyone calls me fat one more time in my life, I’m going to kill them.”
She opened up to the Times about the ridicule that often comes along with being a woman doing incredible things in the sports world and her willingness to be the face of positive change when it comes to body confidence.
“If I can represent that body type of women that isn’t represented so much in media, then I’d be happy to do that,” Rousey told the news outlet.
When she was completely open about her ups and downs
This self-assurance and shake-it-off outlook didn't happen overnight, however. Rousey has also addressed her weight and body image struggles as she competed in judo tournaments over the years, which led her to develop a tricky relationship with food and even bulimia for some time.
In an Ask Me Anything on Reddit earlier this year, she explained how liberating it is to have moved past her problems with food. "It feels very liberating to [be] free of the guilt that used to come with every meal," she wrote. "I feel like I have so much extra space in my brain now that I'm not constantly thinking about the next meal and trying to eat as much as possible every day while still losing weight. I feel amazing. I (think) I look amazing. And I just ate some bomb-ass french toast this morning."
When she talked about the importance of hard work
What does Rousey value more than straight appearances? Good old-fashioned hard work to earn your stripes.
“We seem to be in this conflicting era for women, where women are doing so amazingly and taking over the athletic world, but we’re also in a time where ... how can I really put it? That women without any skills, that freeload, are being glorified," Rousey told the Times. "That’s something I was raised not to be. [I was taught] that you’re supposed to contribute to the world, not consume from it.”
When she made magazine history
The 28-year-old also just became the first female to grace the cover of Men's Fitness Australia. Rocking a Reebok tank and a "don't mess with me" smolder, Rousey can be seen in the image framed by the cover lines, "How Ronda Rousey Can Make You Tougher" and "WTF? Ronda Rousey On the Cover!"
Some Internet trolls whined about Rousey's moment on the men's mag, but Rousey neither cares nor agrees with any of the backlash. She addressed it in her Times profile, telling the paper, “When women say that going on publications directed at men is somehow demeaning, I don’t think that’s true. I think that’s one really effective way to change the societal standard women are held to.”
When she showed respect (in the best way possible) for a fellow fierce female
Too often, talented women are pitted against each other (See: Katy Perry and Taylor Swift), but Rousey's straight awesomeness and humility has prevented that from happening so far.
Rousey recently chatted with E! News about how she felt a wee bit starstruck when Serena Williams invited her out on a sushi date. "Serena hit me up and I almost died! We've hung out a little bit and she's so cool. She's so awesome," she said.
But her fangirl status eased up a bit when she realized the duo had some things in common (besides being total badasses at their respective sports), like a mutual love of sushi.
"At first I was like, 'Oh my god, I'm so nervous.' And then after a few minutes I was like, 'This girl is so awesome!' We handled some sushi," Rousey continued. "It was nice to be out with another cool woman who can handle some food."
Now those are two fit friends we'd like to join for a girls' night out.