The accolades for Ronda Rousey continue to pile up.
Rousey, currently the most recognizable fighter on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s roster, took home two ESPY Awards tonight and almost nabbed a third. Fellow UFC combatant Donald Cerrone was also a nominee but he fell short in the Fighter of the Year category.
Rousey was given her Fighter of the Year Award earlier in the afternoon while talking to ESPN reporters on the red carpet. Rousey was given the trophy over Cerrone and world-class boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr., Terence Crawford and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.
Rousey, who has been involved in a verbal war of words of sorts through the media with “Money” had some jabs of her own to take at Mayweather, who has earned more money than any other athlete the past three years. She said on the red carpet: “I can’t help but really say that I wonder how Floyd [Mayweather] feels being beat by a woman for once.”
Rousey’s other major nomination was no surprise but her victory in the Best Female Athlete might have been. The UFC bantamweight champion edged out all-time great tennis superstar Serena Williams, who is coming off of her fourth straight major victory and her second career “Serena Slam.” Still, Rousey’s excellence was enough to edge Williams, one of the most decorated and popular female athletes in history. The other nominees that were beaten by Rousey were Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn and UCONN basketball player Breanna Stewart. It’s the second year in a row that “Rowdy” Ronda has snatched the prize and by the looks of her dominance over the women’s division, she might be the odds-on favorite to three-peat in 2016.
Ronda almost captured the ESPY triple crown when her sensational armbar of Cat Zingano at UFC 184, in which she set a record for the fastest stoppage in UFC championship history, was entered into a 16-candidate tournament to determine the year’s Best Play. In the opening round of the bracket, her submission bested the jaw-dropping NBA play where Phoenix Suns star Gerald Green passed to himself by tossing the ball off the backboard, catching it and jamming it home against the Orlando Magic. Unfortunately, Rousey’s reign of ESPY terror ended when her armbar lost out to soccer legend Lionel Messi’s magnificent goal against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa de Rey final by a voting margin of 53 percent to 47.
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