Ronda Rousey set the sports and publishing worlds aflame last summer when she appeared on the cover of ESPN The Magazine‘s annual Body Issue. Those steeply versed in the crazy violent world of MMA already knew her name, but her nude cover shot (above right) turned her into a household name virtually overnight.
At the time she made the cover, Rousey was already an Olympic medalist in judo and a rising star in MMA. ESPN The Magazine‘s cover story, which sold like those proverbial hotcakes you’re always hearing about, on her catapaulted Rousey into the same circle of fame as other attractive famous female athletes like Danica Patrick, Laila Ali and Gina Carano. After that, television came calling, and so did the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), which named her the league’s first-ever UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion thanks to her patented submission move, the armbar. Rousey defended her title in February this year, and graces the cover of ESPN The Magazine‘s 15th Anniversary Issue (on newsstands now).
Rousey’s profile continues to be on the rise; as evidence, she just inked her first big-time endorsement deal to be the face of XYIENCE Energy Drink. Now, only one question remains: Will this cover of ESPN The Magazine outsell last year’s?
[Photos: ESPN The Magazine, Getty Images]