Ronda Rousey receives an epic introduction to the WWE
Fans haven't seen Ronda Rousey fight since December 2016, when she suffered her infamous 48-second loss to Amanda Nunes. The former UFC champion has since turned away from the sport, and even announced her intentions to enter the world of professional wrestling rather than make a return to what most of us know her for.
While she showed no interest in returning, there have been rumors that she might - or at least could - after her longtime coach weighed in on her chances. Back in September, Edmond Tarverdyan spoke to The MMA Hour, suggesting that she should make a comeback and who exactly it should be against: Cris Cyborg.
"That's the one. I want that fight," he said. "When I trained Ronda, I know Ronda could beat Cyborg. I know that. Cyborg is too slow."
When asked about her chances of recovery, he replied:
"We’ll live and we’ll see. If injuries weren't there and everything was where it was, we would take that fight and I’m telling you she’s too slow for us. And Ronda will beat her.
"Ronda needs a challenge. She really needs to be like, 'This person is no good and I need to prove something to the whole world.' That’s how Ronda works good. She said she cheated before, she’s hurt women and she wants to come and beat her."
Rousey, who was the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in Judo, doesn't seem to have followed up his comments with any return, instead finally making the jump to WWE after a surprise appearance at the Royal Rumble this week.
She had previously ruled out an appearance at the women's event in Philadelphia, but surprised the assembled crowds by appearing, even pointing to a WrestleMania sign, which is scheduled for New Orleans in April.
She certainly made an impression on fans as she entered the ring, with Joan Jett's 'Bad Reputation' playing as she left.
She has said of her decision to join the WWE that wrestling will be her "first priority":
"This is my life now. Yeah, they have first priority on my time for the next several years. This is not a smash and grab, this is not a publicity stunt.
"When I first met with Triple H, I told him, ‘There are other things I can do with my time that’ll make way more money, but I won’t enjoy nearly as much."
When she was asked whether she had officially retired from UFC by ESPN recently, she was clear that reports aren't always accurate, and she isn't necessarily ruling anything out.
"That’s what everybody else seems to say — I mean, I never retired from judo. So that’s what you guys want to think.
"All I know is I really want to devote 100 per cent of my time to wrestling right now and whatever people want to call that they can call it."
Not everyone has been too complimentary when it comes to Rousey's decision to join the WWE, but there's no doubt that the fans assembled to watch the Royal Rumble are dying to see how it all plays out.