If ever there were to be a real-life modern Wonder Woman, Ronda Rousey would be the one to take up that tiara. The 29-year-old mixed martial artist has made a name for herself as both a UFC Champion and Olympic medalist, and at the end of this month, she’s stepping back into the limelight.
Ronda Rousey kicked off her career with a bang, becoming the first U.S. woman to ever win an Olympic medal in judo. She nabbed the Bronze at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing when she was just 19 years old.
After that, she felt she had achieved enough with judo and her life took a drastic change. She moved to Venice, California, and ended up sharing a studio apartment with a roommate and working three jobs bartending and waitressing to make ends meet. It’s not exactly what you’d expect from an Olympic medalist, but in hindsight it was the right move for someone who was not in for a conventional career.
Ronda Rousey started training at an MMA academy, and despite being told she was “too pretty to get hit in the face” and would cry in frustration at not being able to throw her male training partners, she persevered. In 2010, she showed all her doubters she was made of stern stuff.
Her first fight was against Hayden Munoz in August of 2010, and it was short-lived–Rousey defeated Munoz by getting her into an armbar in just 23 seconds. It didn’t take long for Rousey sign with the UFC, becoming the first female fighter ever to do so.
She ended up winning 12 consecutive MMA fights, holding the Women’s Bantamweight Championship for several years in a row. Unfortunately, her victory streak came to an end when she lost to Holly Holm at the end of 2015. There’s no doubting she’s eager to get her title back, and she’ll be facing off against current title holder Amanda Nunes on December 30–it will be her first fight since she lost to Holm.
As if she weren’t enough of a champ, Rousey also knows how to use her powers for good. She’s part of the #StrongIsBeautiful campaign by Pantene, which is meant to encourage more women to enjoy sports. Welcome back to the arena, Wonder Woman.