Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion and current WWE star Ronda Rousey has been at the top of mixed martial arts and at the top of professional wrestling.
She became the first UFC female champion in November 2012, and successfully defended the 135-pound title six times. She was also the first female to headline a UFC fight card as well as the first female WWE headliner. She never officially announced her retirement from MMA competition, but it’s assumed that her days in the cage are over. She last fought in December 2016.
After leaving the UFC, Rousey enjoyed acting opportunities before landing in the WWE. She immediately became one of the professional wrestling’s biggest stars.
Rousey is a household name. She’s experienced being the female face of both the WWE and UFC. “Rowdy” was asked about the differences between the fanbases during her latest live feed on YouTube.
“I would say that the WWE fans care more about the wrestlers than the UFC fans care more about the fighters. UFC fans have much less respect for their veterans and legends of the sport than WWE fans do. A lot of UFC fans are kind of like bandwagon fans in that way. It’s like, the second you’re not on top, you’re dead to them,” Rousey said.
“Whereas WWE fans are like, ‘this is the guy that did this 20 years ago’ and they are still really excited about that whereas a lot of UFC fans now are like, ‘Forrest Griffin sucks.’ Uhh, you owe basically the whole sport to him. It’s shit like that. ‘Anderson Silva sucks. GSP [Georges St-Pierre] sucks.’ These are people that elevated the sport, and were the best in the world for a time, and paved the way for everybody else. I don’t see UFC fans having the same respect for people that got the sport to where it is as WWE fans. I’m not saying it’s completely absent, I’m just saying I see more respect for legends in WWE fans than UFC fans,” continued Rousey.
The two promotions compete in the pay-per-view market, but are entirely different products. MMA is a sport where staying on top is a difficult task. Professional wrestling is about storylines and personalities. Someone can stick around as long as they’re written into the script in WWE. Fighters write their own script in the UFC. And as they say, ‘you’re only as good as your last fight.’