To the delight of many a fanboy, it seems an inevitability that current UFC women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey will follow in Gina Carano’s footsteps down the red carpet to a career in Hollywood.
However, it remains uncertain exactly how long it will take Rousey to make the transition from being the No. 1 pound-for-found female mixed martial artist to a full-fledged starlet and media personality.
Rousey’s meteoric rise to fame has been anything but slow and steady.
In less than 18 months, “Rowdy” has gone from a relative unknown toiling away trying to make ends meet to arguably one of the most recognizable MMA fighters on the planet Earth.
Since nearly snapping Miesha Tate’s arm to claim the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight strap back in March 2012, Rousey has become a household name.
Rowdy has been featured in a number of commercials and print advertisements. She’s made the usual late-night talk-show rounds, infamously telling Conan O’Brien about the benefits of sex before a big fight.
Heck, the girl even rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
Rousey has also made waves posing semi-nude in ESPN: The Magazine’s 2012 Body Issue and within the pages of Maxim. She was ranked No. 29 on that magazine’s 2013 Hot 100 list and is the September cover girl.
Rousey, like Carano, has captured the public’s attention because she exudes both femininity as well as an Amazon-like warrior spirit.
It is these attributes that have made Rousey a hot commodity and someone Hollywood could hypothetically mold into the next great female action star.
Tinseltown has already made a play for Rousey in earnest. She has lined up roles in the upcoming ensemble blockbusters The Expendables 3 and Fast & Furious 7, per Variety.
The exposure Rousey will receive from appearing in those established and wildly successful franchises will only make her star burn brighter.
Right now, Rousey’s opportunities outside the Octagon are directly proportional to her achievements within it. Her string of first-round armbar victories have opened doors that otherwise would have remained shut.
However, the question remains: Would Rousey be able to have sustained success in Hollywood if she completely cut ties with MMA?
Many athletes have tried their hands at acting or singing with varying degrees of success, but when their sports careers fizzled, they often became irrelevant and simply faded away.
Thus far, Rousey seems well on her way to having a more successful career outside the cage than any MMA fighter before her, including Carano, Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
And it seems likely that Rousey may make the jump to the big (or small) screen sooner rather than later.
Though she has defended her UFC belt once and has only seven professional fights to her credit, there are already rumblings that she is contemplating an exit from the Octagon.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Rousey said of her MMA career that, “I think I’ve got two years left in me, realistically.”
One would have to wager that the amount of money Rousey makes from endorsements or her other extracurricular activities outweighs how much she pulls in per fight.
Rousey netted $90,000 (including a $45,000 win bonus) for her first-round submission of Liz Carmouche at UFC 157. That number does not take into account any other post-fight bonuses or points on the back end that may be guaranteed in her contract.
There's no way in hell. I don't care what Hollywood offers; they ain't paying what we're paying. These guys, when they go out and make a movie, they don't make what we're paying.
Even if that truly is the case, Rowdy still needs to strike while the iron is hot, and right now, it’s white-hot. And besides, why risk serious injury when you can get paid and have a stunt person take the lumps?
While the odds are definitely against her having any real long-term Hollywood success, Rousey is a one-of-a-kind athlete. She has a legion of adoring male fans, many of whom mocked the very idea of women’s MMA.
Given her magnetic presence and natural abilities, Rousey has already set the MMA world on fire. And with the proper directions and career choices, fans could well be seeing her kick butt on the silver screen for years to come.