Ronda Rousey signs landmark deal
A week's worth of rumors were answered Friday when Dana White confirmed that Strikeforce female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is headed to the UFC.
White told syndicated radio host Jim Rome on Friday that "Rousey did sign with the UFC," making her the first female with a contract to compete in the Octagon.
"She's a real fighter and she's very talented," the UFC president said of the 25-year-old Californian. "She has the credentials, the pedigree; I mean everything. I think she has that 'it' factor. I think she's going to be a big superstar.
"This girl is nasty."
TMZ first reported the move on Nov. 8, yet Rousey, her representatives, officials for UFC, Strikeforce and Showtime stated that a deal wasn't in place, or declined comment.
"Okay I admit it...I'm officially a @ufc fighter," Rousey tweeted Friday. "SO excited! Can't wait to debut! Let @danawhite know who you want my 1st opponent to be!"
The UFC had long balked at the prospect of adding women into its fold because of the perception that there wasn't enough depth to create meaningful weight classes. Rousey's rising stardom had a significant impact on the way White viewed the potential for female fighters in the UFC.
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White told Rome that during the next two years Rousey (6-0) had "four or five good" fights lined up at 135 pounds. No date or opponent has been announced for Rousey's first appearance in the UFC.
It is expected that eight women will move from Strikeforce, for which Rousey has been champion since March 2012, to the UFC in 2013.
Despite her limited professional MMA record, Rousey's aggression, cover-girl looks and signature move, the armbar -- which prompted first-round finishes for all her amateur and professional fights -- made the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in judo an instant star among female mixed martial artists.