Former UFC icon Ronda Rousey shocked the wrestling world this weekend when she closed out WWE’s annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view, staring down both the company’s current women’s champions and issuing a seemingly open challenge for WrestleMania 34.
Now, one of the biggest MMA stars on the entire planet has gone a step further, as ESPN.com is confirming Rousey has signed a contract with WWE to become a “full-time professional wrestler”.
While we have no idea exactly what “full-time” means to one of the world’s most decorated (not to mention busy) athletes, or how many dates she’s scheduled to work over the next few years, her signing with WWE has been rumored and even reported on as a “sure thing” for the last several months.
“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. 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 appeared at WrestleMania 31 alongside The Rock during an in-ring segment with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. She returned in 2017 during the Mae Young Classic women’s tournament, showing support for fellow “Four Horsewomen” member Shayna Baszler, who is now a top star in the WWE’s developmental NXT brand.
Sunday night Ronda made a much more grand statement, walking to the ring just as “The Empress” Asuka was celebrating her historic victory in the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble Match. She wore a custom t-shirt in the design of her childhood favorite “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, and a leather jacket that once belonged to the late Hall of Famer, according to Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline.com.