Why Ronda Rousey Is the Body Image Role Model We Need

The things Ronda Rousey has to say about body image are seriously badass. (Just like her.)

Photo: Getty Images

Ronda Rousey knows how to knock people out—in more ways than one.

The champion UFC fighter took down the previously undefeated fighter Bethe Correia on August 1st to win UFC 190. Rousey is known for swiftly beating her opponents (a fight back in March lasted just 14 seconds before Rousey was crowned the victor), and this match was no different, ending in just 34 seconds.

But Rousey also stuns outside of the ring, particularly as a positive body image role model.

The fighter modeled for Sports Illustrated’s 2015 Swimsuit Issue back in February, and talked about why it was so important to her to be featured.

“I was so happy to have this opportunity because I really do believe that there shouldn’t be one cookie cutter body type that everyone is aspiring to be,” she told SI in a behind-the-scenes video.

And in a recent interview with Cosmopolitan.com, Rousey revealed that she chose to gain weight before her photo shoot with SI.

“I felt like I was much too small for a magazine that is supposed to be celebrating the epitome of a woman,” she explained. “I wanted to be at my most feminine shape, and I don't feel my most attractive at 135 pounds, which is the weight I fight at. At 150 pounds, I feel like I'm at my healthiest and my strongest and my most beautiful.”

Right on! But she wasn’t always so comfortable with her weight. As a judo fighter growing up, Rousey never thought of her athletic shape as a “conventional, feminine body type.”

“I grew up thinking that because my body type was uncommon, it was a bad thing,” she told Cosmo. “Now that I'm older, I've really begun to realize that I'm really proud that my body has developed for a purpose and not just to be looked at.”

She continued: “To be honest, it took a lot of time to develop a healthier relationship with food and with my weight. My mind was backward. I thought I wanted my body to look a certain way so I could be happy.”

Now it's clear that she has an, ahem, wildly different take on the subject. In a video promoting her fight against Correia, Rousey opened up about those who criticize her body for being “huge” or too “masculine.

“I have this one term for the kind of woman my mother raised me to not be, and I call it a do nothing b—. A DNB. The kind of chick that just tries to be pretty and be taken care of by someone else,” she said. “That’s why I think it’s hilarious if my body looks masculine or something like that. 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 because I’m not a do nothing b—. It’s not very eloquently said but it’s to the point and maybe that’s just what I am. I’m not that eloquent, but I’m to the point.”

It’s true—whether she’s sparring against an opponent or talking about body image—she gets right to the point and doesn’t waste any time. It may not be the "sugar, spice, and everything nice" way to do things, but that's what makes her exactly the kind of role model we need.

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