NEW YORK – UFC-superstar-turned-pop-culture-icon Ronda Rousey made waves when she signed a full-time deal with the WWE, and the 31-year-old knows all eyes are on her as she transitions into her new role.
Rousey’s first WrestleMania is fast approaching on April 8, and she’s not sure how she will feel when she walks out into the ring.
“I guess I can't really say [how I will feel until] I'm walking out. Up until now it's just a guess, how do you guess about something like that… You might get out there and feel like giggling and pissing your pants at the same time, who knows,” she told Fox News at a WWE press event on Friday.
Rousey lost the last two fights of her mixed martial arts career -- to Holly Holm in 2015 and Amanda Nunes in 2016. As her UFC career seemed to wind down, many speculated she’d make the move over to the WWE.
But that doesn’t mean she is certain other famed athletes should follow in her footsteps.
“I'm happy to open the door to people who are true fans and have a real passion for this business, but I don't think this is an opportunity for the people who are only here for the money,” she cautioned. “I just really hope to inspire people to be lifelong fans and that will eventually bring them here.”
Rousey is widely credited with bringing women’s mixed martial arts to the mainstream. She quickly became a superstar in the sport, winning five of her first six fights in UFC in the first round. She was UFC’s first ever woman’s bantamweight champion.
The star has an appreciation for the way the WWE has shifted to promote its female talent. The organization ditched the term “WWE Diva” in favor of “WWE Superstar” in 2016.
“I always say sports are a metaphor for life and I believe that the WWE is the social commentary for the world,” she mused. “What is happening in the WWE universe reflects on what is happening in the world around it.
"That's why the events that happen resonate so much with our fans, and why I feel like what happens in the WWE has such a far reach and social impact and I like to affect real social change. This is one of the most effective places to start.”