Ronda Rousey is writing quite a comeback story without even stepping back into the octagon.
Rousey, whose UFC dominance came to a screeching halt with back-to-back losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes at UFC 193 and UFC 207, respectively, appeared in her first official WWE match Sunday night at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. Her performance drew rave reviews, and it seemingly opened the former UFC champion’s eyes to how far she’s come over the last 15-plus months and how much she could enjoy her new career inside the wrestling ring.
“It was me versus the world in an individual sport (in UFC),” Rousey told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne after Sunday’s match, in which she and Kurt Angle defeated Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. “I thought I would never say this, but I’m so happy I lost those fights (to Holm and Nunes) because it led me here (to WWE). This is so worth it.”
The world of professional wrestling — or “sports entertainment,” if you want to call it that — obviously is a whole different beast. Not only are matches scripted, without actual violence. They also involve WWE superstars working together — rather than competing against each other — to provide fans with the best possible product.
In many ways, then, Rousey is part of a team now, even if she’s destined for a WWE career as a singles performer. This realization could be exactly what Rousey needed after her two most recent UFC losses sent her into depression on the heels of an amazing 12-fight MMA winning streak.
“Everything really does happen for a reason. I’m just so grateful,” Rousey said, per Shelburne. “I thought I never would be (grateful) for (the losses), but time is a great teacher. I’m just really, really glad I gave it time instead of giving up and feeling it was the end of the world.
“There’s so many people who encounter tragedies who feel like the world and time won’t heal it. But all I can say to those people is: Just give it time, even if you think time can’t heal it. You never know what will happen and where it will lead you. Every missed opportunity is a blessing in disguise. I really believe it now.”
So yeah. Rousey is off to a good start in WWE, both mentally and physically.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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