The UFC is full of some of the most gifted athletes in sports, and it didn't take long for Americans to find out.
According to digital marketing gurus Compete Pulse, in 2006, the UFC became the fastest growing sport in America. Things haven't slowed down since then, as UFC pay-per-view events continued to rack up huge numbers, surpassing 1 million buys on many occasions, most recently during UFC 168, according to MMAPayout.com.
So, what's the root cause for the epic success of this organization?
There's plenty to take into consideration, such as immensely exciting fights and unexpected results which make for adrenaline-packed events. But one thing stands out completely: personalities.
As viewers, we are intrigued by the most compelling personalities whether we love them or hate them. They make us intrigued, they make us angry and they make us laugh.
Ronda Rousey has been the spokesperson for the women whether she intended to be or not.
She's exactly what the women's side of the sport needs in order to flourish in the way the men's side did. Her brash attitude and phenomenal trash-talking ability allowed her to quickly become one of the most recognizable personalities in mixed martial arts.
Rousey's already made headlines for taking roles in movies and appearing in publications; however, that's just part of what makes her great as a representative for the women's division: She doesn't pull any punches and is who she is.
We only have to go back to April to find some incredibly bold Rousey statements about fellow fighter Cris "Cyborg" Justino potentially joining the UFC during a press conference, via Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports:
I've said before, I don't care if she's injecting horse s---n into her eyeballs, I'll fight her, but that's just my personal decision. But I can't make a decision for the whole division. I can't say it's the right thing. This girl has been on steroids for so long and [has been] injecting herself for so long that she's not even a woman anymore. She's an 'it.' It's not good for the women's division. It's not good at all.
Those comments made major headlines. Women's UFC was all over the Web shortly after solely due to Rousey speaking her mind—albeit, in an unfiltered fashion.
However you felt about the comments, they were ingrained in your brain. That was the case for some major mixed martial arts companies as well. Apparel brand Americana had this to say regarding Rousey's statement:
Americana will give $5k to the first fighter that knocks out Ronda Rousey.— AmericanA (@americanamma) April 19, 2014
Rousey's upcoming UFC 175 opponent, Alexis Davis, weighed in as well during an interview with Marc Raimondi of Fox Sports:
"There's some boundaries you have to have. But I can only imagine the pressure she feels in this situation. She's brought it on herself, all this s--t talking, calling people out. She's not a huge Cyborg fan. I think she has to push it every single time."
That's the beauty of what Rousey does. Davis isn't known to be very vocal—and certainly isn't a trash-talking specialist—but Rousey's comments created a big reaction from her upcoming opponent.
Here's a quick look back as to why the clash between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock was one of the all-time greats:
The trash talk from Ortiz made Shamrock blow a gasket during the pre-fight presser. Ortiz got under his opponent's skin and backed it up with a thorough beatdown in the Octagon.
That's why this sport blew up quickly.
Today, the UFC is more diverse—more complete. Not only did the organization add extra men's weight classes, but it also added a women's division. Hence, Rousey's giant role going forward.
Her trash talk isn't solely for UFC participants. Here's what Rousey had to say regarding any of the world's female Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters, via GracieMag:
ANY TAKERS? Ronda Rousey says she can beat any girl in BJJ today http://t.co/Zfb2TZfQdk— GRACIEMAG (@graciemag) June 26, 2014
On that note, she isn't just after MMA fighters, and she isn't only talking about women. Here's what UFC president Dana White had to say about a street fight between Rousey and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, courtesy of SportsCenter:
If Floyd Mayweather ran into Ronda Rousey in a dark alley, Dana White would put his money on Rousey. pic.twitter.com/M75vGmR5in— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 23, 2014
Rousey's bold comments aren't solely based on trash talk.
During a recent interview with Mike Chiappetta of Fox Sports, she laid down a Rousey-esque comment regarding her willingness to fight at any given time:
Does Rousey help or hurt women's UFC?
"I'd like to fight again on New Year's, take a little break in between then, but the UFC knows if there's an emergency, or if they need me, I'll step up on 24 hours' notice."
Again, that's the kind of statement that makes headlines.
As the UFC continues to grow in popularity, and it continues to expand in many different directions, the women's divisions have a great chance to find the well-deserved spotlight.
With headliners like Rousey in the fold, the sky could be the limit for the women's side of the UFC.