Recently, MMA fighter Ronda Rousey confirmed that she will be featured in ESPN: The Magazine's annual body issue in 2012. The Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion suggested via Twitter that anyone interested in seeing her "artistically nude" should be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine in July.
Rousey is one of 27 athletes who will be featured in the magazine's fourth annual body issue. Among those joining her are Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, soccer star Abby Wambach, Knicks star Tyson Chandler and Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Obviously, athletes posing nude is nothing new, and they've been doing it long before the body issue even existed. Let's take a look at 30 other athletes who have posed nude over the years.
High-jumper Amy Acuff will be making her fifth trip to the Olympics at the 2012 games in London this summer. The body-baring track-and-field uniforms don't leave much to the imagination, which might be why Acuff has posed for various pictorials over the years—including Playboy in 2004.
American swimmer Natalie Coughlin will be competing in her third, and likely final, Olympics this summer at the London games. In the past she's appeared in FHM and Maxim features on female Olympians, but the first time she's ever posed sans-clothing was for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2012.
As far as I'm aware, body paint does not count as clothes.
In 2011, Clippers superstar Blake Griffin took some time out of his busy schedule of delivering dunk faces to the opposition to pose for ESPN:The Magazine's annual body issue. Griffin was one of a few athletes selected for his own cover.
Christy Hemme is a retired professional wrestler who got her big break in the WWE's Diva Search in 2004. After signing a contract with the company, Hemme appeared in Playboy in 2005 before leaving the WWE later that year and eventually signing on with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in 2006.
Russian tennis stunner Vera Zvonareva posed for ESPN:The Magazine's annual body issue in 2011. In the interview, Zvonareva said that she has never felt self-conscious about her body because she was always very active in sports and never had to think much about staying in shape.
It always helps to have a positive body image when baring it all for the camera and, eventually, a global audience.
German figure skater Katarina Witt won the gold medal in the singles competition at both the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo and the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. Ten years later Witt posed for Playboy in a successful attempt to shed her "ice princess" image that she had long grown out of.
The issue featuring Witt was the second issue in history to completely sell out.
With eight medals to his credit, speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno is one of the most decorated American Winter Olympic athletes ever—though, Ohno knows how to keep himself in the public eye even in between Olympic appearances.
In 2007, Ohno was the champion of Season 4 of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, and in 2011, he was featured in ESPN: The Magazine's annual body issue.
Ashley Harkleroad had some very early success in her tennis career, winning a few unexpected matches against top-20 players in 2003. But after that it was mostly downhill for Harkleroad, who was often battling injuries.
Because she never won a professional title, Harkleroad is probably best known for her appearance in Playboy in 2007. She has the distinction of being the first professional tennis player to pose for the magazine.
Despite the U.S. women's national team coming up just short of victory at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, overall it was still a pretty good year for the team's goalkeeper, Hope Solo—at least in terms of her skyrocketing fame.
Solo's appearance on Season 13 of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, and being featured on the cover of ESPN: The Magazine's annual body issue, both contributed to her becoming one of the most recognizable female athletes in the world.
Like most ladies' sports the LPGA doesn't get too much attention, but Natalie Gulbis has certainly done her part over the years to shine a spotlight on the game—or at least on Gulbis herself. Her appearance in FHM in 2005 made her an instant sex symbol and one of the most famous faces in the game.
Gulbis had never before bared it all until 2012, when the gorgeous blonde was featured wearing nothing but a body-painted bikini and a smile in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Swimmer Amanda Beard has competed, and medaled, in three Olympic games for the United States. The 2004 Olympics in Athens is where Beard put on her best performance, earning one gold medal and two silver medals. In the years after, she was a very hot commodity.
Between 2006 and 2008, Beard posed in various states of undress, including complete undress, for FHM, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Playboy and an anti-fur campaign for the animal rights organization PETA.
American tennis great Serena Williams has been one of the greatest in the game for well over a decade. Williams has over 10 Grand Slam titles to her name, two Olympic gold medals and has racked up more prize money than any other female athlete in sports.
She has also received plenty of attention as a model. Williams has appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and in 2009 she was chosen for the cover of ESPN: The Magazine's annual body issue.
Swimmer Haley Cope's one and only Olympic medal came as a member of the women's 4x100-meter relay team at the 2004 Games in Athens. But Cope is still remembered today because of two very sexy pictorials she was featured in within the same year.
Cope was part of FHM's 2004 feature on the women of the Summer Olympics, and later that year went on to pose nude for the September issue of Playboy.
American soccer player Tim Howard, who plays goalkeeper for the English club of Everton, showed off what's normally hidden beneath his jersey in ESPN: The Magazine's annual body issue in 2010.
Howard was one of the athletes chosen for the cover, and he was pictured covered in mud and wearing nothing but his goalkeeper gloves.
American snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler took home silver in the halfpipe at the 2006 Olympics in Turin and has medaled five times in the event, four of which were gold, at the X-Games. In 2004, Bleiler was featured in a memorable pictorial with FHM magazine along with fellow snowboarder Tara Dakides.
Bleiler bared even more in ESPN:The Magazine's annual body issue in 2011. Bleiler and Hope Solo were among the few athletes chosen for the various covers.
In 2012, American hurdler Lolo Jones made headlines for a couple of different reasons. Obviously, qualifying for her second straight Olympic team was one of them. The other was for broaching the topic of her virginity during an interview on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
Jones may be keeping it in her pants until marriage, but in 2009 she was featured without her pants (or anything else) in ESPN:The Magazine's annual body issue.
Retired professional wrestler Torrie Wilson got her start in World Championship Wrestling way back in 1999 before moving on to the WWE in 2001. Wilson was one of the most popular Divas on both SmackDown and Raw before retiring in 2008.
Unsurprisingly, Wilson was never hurting for modeling work during that time and appeared in countless magazines over the years. She was featured on the cover of FHM in 2006 and had landed the cover of Playboy twice prior to that.
American soccer player Natasha Kai currently plays forward for the Philadelphia Independence of the Women's Professional Soccer. Kai's 50-plus tattoos have earned her a guest spot on the reality show LA Ink in the past.
Kai also showcased her tattoos in ESPN: The Magazine's annual body issue in 2009.
Professional wrestler Ashley Massaro spent three years with the WWE after winning their Diva search in 2005. Massaro was released by the WWE in 2008 and eventually signed with the World Independent Ladies Division Wrestling in 2011.
Massaro has modeled for Hawaii Tropic, FHM, Stuff and Maxim and appeared on the CBS game show Survivor. And, of course, she bared it all for Playboy in 2007.
Sprinter Natasha Hastings made her first Olympic appearance at the 2008 Games in Beijing and won gold as a member of the 4x400-meter relay team.
Hastings showed off her gold medal physique in ESPN: The Magazine's annual body issue in 2011.
British golfer Belen Mozo is a four-time NCAA All-American athlete who won both the Ladies British and Girls' British Amateur championships in 2006. Mozo said she was "really excited," rather than nervous, about being featured in ESPN: The Magazine's annual body issue in 2011.
Alex Morgan is a member of the U.S. women's national soccer team who has been gaining in popularity over the last year. Morgan is a rising star on the team and was one of the athletes featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2012.
Morgan appeared in a body-paint bikini, much to the delight of her many male fans out there.
Gymnast Alicia Sacramone was a member of the American women's team that won the all-around silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Sacramone hoped to make a comeback in 2012, but fell short of her goal of making it back to the Games in London.
In 2011, Sacramone appeared in ESPN: The Magazine's annual body issue, and her photos were among the most popular and memorable in the issue's history.
Since being drafted by the Vikings in 2007, running back Adrian Peterson has been among the greatest players in the NFL. Peterson's first two seasons in the NFL were both outstanding, so it's no wonder he was chosen to appear in ESPN: The Magazine's annual body issue in 2009.
Peterson was among the athletes chosen to be featured on the various covers that year.
Volleyball player Gabrielle Reece was one of the most famous athletes in the world in the '90s and eventually became one of the preeminent sex symbols of the decade as well.
Her sex-symbol status was solidified after her steamy pictorial and appearance on the cover of Playboy in January 2001.
Skier Julia Mancuso has three Olympic medals to her name, the most ever for an American alpine skier. In 2006, Mancuso had a memorable appearance in an FHM feature of female athletes.
In 2010, she was featured in ESPN: The Magazine's annual body issue alongside athletes like Knicks star Amar'e Stoudemire.
Arianny Celeste is UFC's sexiest ring girl, which obviously doesn't qualify as a sport. But before all that, Celeste was a competitive gymnast throughout most of her childhood and into her teen years. Which certainly meets my "athlete" qualifications and I'm sure you're not complaining.
Since making her UFC debut in 2006, Celeste has modeled for a number of magazines including Maxim, FHM and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Celeste has also made two appearances in Playboy.
MMA fighter turned movie star Gina Carano is one of the most recognizable faces in the sport, thanks in large part to the sex-symbol status that her stunning good looks have attributed to.
Carano was a talented and successful fighter, but she really started to attract attention after her appearance on the cover of ESPN: The Magazine's annual body issue in 2009.
The German women's national soccer team attracted global attention after their appearance in German Playboy just prior to the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Professional wrestler Maria Kanellis got her start in WWE after competing in the Raw Diva search in 2004. She may have placed fifth in the competition, but she obviously made quite an impression because she was rewarded with a contract and was with the WWE until 2010.
Outside of wresting, Kanellis has worked as an actress and model, and she was named one of FHM's 100 sexiest women of 2008. Perhaps her place on the list had something to do with her April 2008 pictorial and cover of Playboy.