Today In MMA History: Ronda Rousey Makes her Professional Debut

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Ronda Rousey is one of the most recognisable names in all of MMA. Olympic bronze medalist, the first-ever UFC women’s champion, once a massive PPV pull in the UFC and a WWE star, Rousey has had a stellar career. That all started on this day in 2011. We take a look at the career of ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey.

March 27th 2011

Having achieved an Olympic bronze medal in Judo (-70kg), Rousey turned her attention to MMA. With an amateur record of 3-0, achieving all finishes by armbar in the first round, it was time for Rousey to turn professional.

Ronda Rousey’s professional debut came on March 27th 2011 against Ediane Gomes. She was much more experienced than Rousey in MMA, with a record of 6-1. The only loss on her record at the time came at the hands of future women’s MMA GOAT, Amanda Nunes. The bout between Rousey and Gomes went very similar to all of Rousey’s past fights. Rousey wasted no time closing the distance and looking for the hip toss. When she couldn’t get it, an inside trip ended with her in full mount. Heavy ground and pound then lead to the armbar.

It was over in just 25 seconds, via armbar, in the first round. The birth of a future star began at KOTCTurning Point that night.

What Came Next for Ronda Rousey

From then on, Rousey finished her next seven opponents by armbar, all in the first round apart from one. These came against very recognisable names, Charmain Tweet, former Bellator featherweight champion, Julia BuddMeisha TateSarah Kauffman and Liz Carmouche. Included in this was a Strikeforce title run (with a successful defence) and a UFC main event (the first-ever event to be headlined by women).

She then went on to have five successful title defences of her UFC belt, where she achieved six post-fight bonuses. For anyone to claim that Rousey wasn’t talented simply doesn’t know MMA.

Losses and Subsequent Release

Next up for Ronda Rousey came the undefeated Holly Holm. Former kickboxing and boxing star Holm wasn’t given much of a chance against Ronda but what played out will go down in history.

Holm dominated Rousey from the outset, making her miss with strikes and exposing her raw striking game. A truly brutal head kick in the second round effectively ended Rousey’s MMA career and gave Holm the belt.

Ronda Rousey faces of with Holly Holm ahead of their UFC 193 headliner

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 15: (L-R) Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm meet in the center of the Octagon before their UFC women’s bantamweight championship bout during the UFC 193 event at Etihad Stadium on November 15, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Her next bout came after more than a year out where she faced Amanda Nunes, again for the title. This went down in even more brutal fashion than the Holm fight. A terrible style match-up for Rousey, the bout was over in just 0:48. It would also mark the last time we saw Rowdy in the octagon.


Since her back-to-back losses in the UFC, Rousey signed for the WWE in 2017. She went on to have a fairly successful career, picking up the RAW women’s championship in 2018. She then headlined Wrestlemania 35, where she was part of the first-ever women’s main event slot at the ‘show of shows’.

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Frazer Krohn has been with MMASucka for nearly 5 years. He is the host of the MMASucka podcast, which is released every Monday. He's the author of a series of six books about MMA, which were published in 2023.

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