ESPN the Magazine on Tuesday announced that Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will be one of six athletes featured on the cover of the 2012 “Body Issue.”
Rousey joins New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, tennis player Daniela Hantuchova and Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker as a cover athlete for the issue’s fourth annual edition, which hits newsstands July 13. “The Body Issue” showcases elite athletes posing nude in sport-specific positions and was first published in 2009.
Rousey, 25, captured a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing before transitioning to mixed martial arts. Rousey made her professional debut just over 15 months ago and has finished each of her first five opponents via first-round armbar. In March, Miesha Tate became the first woman to last longer than one minute with Rousey in the cage, though Tate eventually succumbed to the Californian’s favorite maneuver and relinquished her Strikeforce title to Rousey.
Rousey becomes the latest mixed martial artist to appear in the magazine’s “Body” special, joining the likes of Gina Carano, Cristiane and Evangelista Santos, and reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. The submission specialist will next defend her crown on Aug. 18, when she collides with former titlist Sarah Kaufman at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego.