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In 2016, Ronda Rousey had lost her UFC women's bantamweight championship to Holly Holm, who in turn lost it to Miesha Tate, who in turn lost it to Amanda Nunes. Still the most famous figure in MMA history, Rousey was scheduled to challenge Nunes for the belt at UFC 207 on December 30, 2016, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Perhaps not coincidentally, images and video emerged from Rousey's nude in bodypaint Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover. The behind the scenes was pretty good too. It is safe to say however that SI saved the best for last.
"This was my first time working with Ronda and I truly did not know what to expect," said Assistant Managing Editor MJ Day. "I was honestly really nervous going into it. Her public persona is that she’s a fighter. She’s tough and brutal in the ring. Outwardly there’s an assumption that she’s closed off and hard to reach.
"The reality is that once you get to know her, she’s fascinating. She’s mesmerizing. And she’s also equally feminine, warm and relatable. After you shoot with her for a day, you realize where the worldwide frenzy comes from. People want to see her and know where she is at all times. It’s 'Rondamania' and it’s overtaken the general population. It’s wild to witness, so much so, that I don’t even think she was aware to what lengths people would go to catch a glimpse of her in body paint."
Si also released an accompanying video:
Rousey retired from judo after winning a medal in the sport at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She then entered MMA and became the highest-paid fighter in the sport, and the most famous figure in its history. "Rowdy" retired following the loss to Nunes. She then moved on the WWE, and became the first and only woman to be the champion in both the UFC and WWE. Rousey has also appeared in a number of films, including The Expendables 3 (2014), Furious 7 (2015), and Mile 22 (2018), and wrote a New York Times best seller autobiography, My Fight / Your Fight (2015). Now a 6th dan in judo, Rousey and her husband, retired UFC heavyweight Travis Browne, have one child.