Ronda Rousey has been slated to host Saturday Night Live, as announced by NBC. Rousey’s episode will air live on January 23, along with musical guest Selena Gomez. This will mark Ronda’s debut hosting the preeminent late-night sketch show, as she becomes the first MMA competitor to grace the 30 Rockefeller stage. The verified Saturday Night Live Twitter account made the news official on Tuesday morning:
— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) January 5, 2016
As seen in the tweet, Adam Driver, star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will host SNL‘s first episode of 2016. Driver plays the villainous Kylo Ren in the latest installment of the franchise. Ronda Rousey, meanwhile, continues her meteoric rise to super-stardom with yet another crossover project into the mainstream. Rousey, of course, is most known for her dominance inside the octagon of the MMA world, but her brand has expanded since becoming the first woman to sign a UFC contract.
In this its 41st season on NBC, Saturday Night Live has had its fair share of hosts from the sports world. LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Derek Jeter have all played host, among others. From the competitive fighting world, we’ve seen the likes of George Foreman and Marvin Hagler, while Hulk Hogan and The Rock have represented sports entertainment and the WWE. However, Ronda Rousey will join a very short list of female athletes who have hosted the show: Nancy Kerrigan and Chris Evert.
Ronda Rousey’s star-power has opened the door for her to star in movies like Furious 7, Expendables 3, and Entourage. And speaking of the WWE, she took part in a key angle alongside The Rock at Wrestlemania this past March. WWE was hopeful for an encore this year in Dallas as rumors swirled of Rousey competing in an actual match, but it appears her busy schedule won’t allow for such a moment.
Rousey’s addition to Saturday Night Live’s Season 41 hosting roster will arguably be their biggest draw of the year. Hosts this year have included breakout comedy star Amy Schumer, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and the dynamite duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who hosted the final episode of 2015. Memorable cameos this season have come from Larry David as Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton as herself, and a returning Will Ferrell reprising his iconic impersonation of former President George W. Bush.
2015 was a banner year for Ronda Rousey, as she continued to experience many “firsts.” As mentioned, she was the first female fighter to sign with the Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion and she’ll be the first MMA-representative to host SNL. She was also the first female guest host for an episode of SportsCenter. However, it was her first loss inside the octagon that had the world buzzing the most, when Holly Holm knocked her out in the second round of a shocking upset at UFC 193 in Australia.
Rousey had been undefeated, including six consecutive title defenses, before Holm recorded what was arguably the biggest upset in the sport’s history. Neither Rousey’s opponent, nor the date of her next fight, have been announced, but it is widely assumed a Rousey v Holm rematch is in the works, which would draw a massive PPV buyrate.
Ronda Rousey won’t be the only SNL first-timer on January 23, as pop star Selena Gomez will make her show debut as well. Gomez’s new album, Revival, features the hit songs “Same Old Love” and “Good For You.”
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]