It's long been an open secret that Ronda Rousey is considering signing a contract with the WWE. Now, two sources close to the MMA star have confirmed that she is very close to putting pen to paper with the pro wrestling monolith.
Rousey is a longtime, self-professed fan of the company and its product. She got her "Rowdy" monicker from Rowdy Roddy Piper, with his blessing. She's also stepped foot in the squared circle before - a cameo during WrestleMania 31, standing beside The Rock, got an enormous pop from the crowd.
"You need to understand something, Steph," she inveighed to kayfabe nemesis Stephanie McMahon. "Any ring I step into is mine. If you want me to leave, why don't you make me?"
The ring may quite literally be hers soon. Five months after her WrestleMania appearance, she beat Bethe Correia at UFC 190 via knockout. Three months later, she suffered her historic loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193. The following year, her career in MMA screeched to a halt after she was resoundingly defeated by Amanda Nunes 48 seconds into their UFC 207 match.
Rousey has apparently parted ways with mixed martial arts. Dana White, president of the UFC, is on record as hoping that Rousey retires from the Octagon.
She poses an obviously huge "get" for the WWE. Brock Lesnar, another MMA star, is still one of the company's biggest draws despite infrequent appearances and mixed fan opinions. Rousey could very well be a female Lesnar, though with a significantly larger cultural footprint than the Beast Incarnate.
Rousey has already been spotted in wrestling training sessions in California. She published a video to her website last week that shows her training with WWE champ Natalya.
WrestleMania 34 is only four months away, so a Rousey appearance is virtually inevitable. We may actually see her well before then, in the first-ever all-female Royal Rumble match scheduled six weeks from now.
A Rousey contract would come at a great time for the WWE. The company has suffered from fan attrition for years, and despite still having relatively strong popularity, has never managed to attain anywhere close to the starmaking power it had during the Attitude Era of the late 1990's. That span of time gave us most of the big breakaway stars - indeed, the only major crossover name of the post-Attitude period has been John Cena.
It will be good to see some famous faces in the ring. Hopefully, Rousey's performance as a wrestler can keep pace with her notoriety.