Strikeforce bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey has watched her profile skyrocket since making her debut a little more than a year ago, emerging as the face of women’s MMA and now teetering on the brink of mainstream popularity similar to the success experienced by Gina Carano. Following in Carano’s footsteps, Ronda also posed in the 2012 edition of ESPN the Magazine’s “Body Issue” and, as it turns out, made the cover as well.
Rousey was selected for a cover-shot along with five other athletes including representatives from MLB, the NFL, and the NBA. The issue hits stands on July 13.
The publication’s “Body Issue” is known for featuring high-level athletes in the buff (though cleverly covered up to avoid any significant nudity).
On the fight-front, the unbeaten Rousey’s next test in the cage will come on August 18 when puts her gold up for grabs against Sarah Kaufman. It will mark the first defense of her title since she won the belt, beating Miesha Tate this past March by way of opening-round Armbar.
UPDATE: ESPN has since uploaded two more pics of Rousey. They can be seen below though beware as they are somewhat NSFW (as though the cover image is)…
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE/ESPN