Ronda Rousey Becomes 1st MMA Athlete to Grace 'Ring' Magazine Cover

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2015

Mixed martial arts fighter Ronda Rousey works out at Glendale Fighting Club, Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Glendale, Calif. Rousey, the UFC bantamweight champion, will return to the octagon against Brazil’s unbeaten Bethe Correia at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 1. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Although she does her damage inside the Octagon, UFC sensation Ronda Rousey will become the first MMA competitor to appear on the front cover of iconic boxing magazine the Ring.  

As reported by Damon Martin of Fox Sports, Rousey will be featured in the January 2016 edition of the long-running publication. Here’s a look at the front cover, per Bleacher Report UK:

Although Rousey is the first MMA competitor to front up the Ring since it was first released in 1922, she’s also only the second woman to ever have the privilege. The first was Cathy “Cat” Davis back in 1978, per Martin.

Rousey’s appearance is the latest emphatic indicator of her growing worldly gravitas. 

Rousey has become one of the biggest names in the sports world.
Rousey has become one of the biggest names in the sports world.Michael Dodge/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

The UFC bantamweight champion has forged her status as the biggest name in the brand after blitzing her way past an array of opponents and will headline UFC 193 against Holly Holm, a fighter with a broad boxing background, in Melbourne, Australia, on November 15. It's an event that is expected to break attendance records for the brand, per MMAFighting.com.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

That’s little surprise given Rousey's recent ascension to a household name for casual sports fans. As we can see here, courtesy of Forbes SportsMoney, Rousey is totting up some impressive figures when it comes to earnings:

Indeed, such is her domination inside the Octagon recently that the Ring asks, “She conquered MMA. Is boxing next?” It’s a feature that has left a lot of boxing purists and regular purchasers of the magazine a little disappointed, though.

As reported by Brent Brookhouse of MMAjunkie, the Ring has been a magazine that has typically focused on the sport of boxing in recent years, branding itself as “The Bible of Boxing.”

Holm is someone who has a strong boxing background.
Holm is someone who has a strong boxing background.Michael Dodge/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

While both MMA and the sweet science are combat sports, they are many, many shades removed from each other. As Brookhouse notes, early comments from readers on the magazine's Instagram account showing the cover seem to suggest “this issue might have missed the mark with Ring’s target audience.”

However, MMA Roasted suggests the reaction from some has been a little overblown, taking a dig at boxing fans in the process:

Still, it’ll be intriguing to hear what Rousey has to say about the sport and whether a potential shift from one discipline to the other is something she may consider should she run out of challenges in the UFC. Here’s a quick look at what she had to say to the Ring, per the magazine’s Facebook page:

Given this edition of the Ring is scheduled to be released the day after Rousey’s bout with Holm, it seems clear the publication is keen on jumping on board the Rousey bandwagon. Considering the champion’s upcoming opponent has twice been named the Ring’s female fighter of the year, there is definitely some links to be made between the two.

While boxing purists may be a little dismayed by the decision made by the sport’s most famous magazine, it’s a mere measure of the draw Rousey has. As someone who is at the forefront of the combat sports world, getting her take on a variety of different boxing matters should make for some refreshing insight for readers.