The rise to the top of anything is never easy. From the judo mats to the Octagon’s canvas, Ronda Rousey’s entire life was spent under a magnifying class with critics poking and prodding her.
She was told she didn’t belong, that women would never fight in the UFC. But just one year after Dana White’s infamous remark in 2011, he was handing her the first UFC women’s bantamweight title. A record six title defenses and six years later, he inducted her into the UFC Hall of Fame.
“In my almost 18 years as UFC president, I’ve learned many valuable lessons,” he said. “When I famously said women would never fight in the UFC, I had never met Ronda Rousey. I had never met the woman who would change everything. She started by changing my mind and she ended up changing the world.”
She did change the world. Each aisle Ronda stomped down on her way to fight on the UFC’s biggest cards paved the way for more women. Not just to put on MMA gloves, but to do whatever they wanted. To ‘fight like a girl’ wherever
“I’m going to try not to cry,” Megan Olivi said embracing Ronda before the ceremony. “Without you, I wouldn’t have had a lot of opportunities and this is a night about you and I wouldn’t be where I am without you. So, I just need you to know that.” Ronda was already emotional before Megan’s kind words. Travis sat on her wedding ring in the car on the way over and broke it. It just goes to show no ride is without its bumps.
Her journey was never perfect, but in the midst of all the highs and lows, the fans were always there. And it’s the fans who keep Ronda going to this day.
“You know I’m not a person who usually struggles to find words. From the bottom of my heart my soul, my toes, my entire being, I want to thank you,” she said. “For the first decade of my athletic career, I was at the pinnacle of athletic accomplishment and no one seemed to care. Nothing changed, and then you came along. The only reason why anything that I ever did had any effect on the world is
Watch the entire 2018 UFC Hall of Fame ceremony on UFC Fight Pass.