LAS VEGAS — Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Paige VanZant, Michelle Waterson and Cris “Cyborg” Justino made up Wednesday’s Women of the UFC panel. And while those four either are big names or rising stars, how can you discuss the topic without Ronda Rousey?
Rousey’s dominance — while now a thing of the past — made her the sport’s biggest star and proved women belonged in mixed martial arts. But Rousey wasn’t on the panel, nor was her name mentioned, as questions about her UFC future abound following back-to-back crushing losses.
Rousey’s absence became a topic of conversation with her fiancé, Travis Browne, at UFC 213 media day, and he delivered a thoughtful response when asked about it.
“Those women being up there pays homage to her already,” Browne said. “Because, what, six, seven, eight years ago, there’d be a bunch of dudes up there. … But now they have a whole panel full of women, so that right there is paying homage to a legend in Ronda. That’s how I take it.”
Added Browne: “She didn’t do this so she could be noticed for it later on. She did it to go out there and make a life for herself. And she did. She rose to the challenges that were put in front of her.”
While Rousey’s next challenges appear to be on screen and not in the octagon, the fact that a women’s championship bout will headline UFC International Fight Week for the second consecutive year speaks volumes to her legacy.
Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images