Ronda Rousey is baring a little more than her soul in the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit edition.
Rousey – who posed in the magazine in 2015 – is returning to the famous annual issue to show off her athletic build. This time, however, Ronda will be wearing body paint, according to a recent article form Rolling Stone.
The story of Rousey returning to the SI swimsuit edition broke after the publication’s editor – MJ Day – posted a picture to Instagram of a body-painted bottom. For the caption, Day wrote “#instabooty if #2016 keeps going like this then I’m going to be one happy happy girl! #booytpaint #siswimsuit.”
While the caption itself did nothing to confirm that Ronda had decided to return to the SI swimsuit edition, scores of the MMA fighter’s fans immediately made note of the wrist tattoos the female standing in the photo had. An article on MMA Junkie fanned the flames surrounding the Rousey rumor, reporting that Ronda had already been mentioned potentially for a body-painting photograph series on the SI website.
The publication put an end to the debate Thursday, confirming Rousey would make an appearance in the 2016 issue. Tweeting a second photograph of Ronda, the magazine confirmed that Rousey was indeed photographed for the 2016 SI swimsuit edition.
— SI Swimsuit (@SI_Swimsuit) January 7, 2016
After the rumors were confirmed, Ronda herself took to Instagram to explain in her thoughts on the SI swimsuit photo shoot. Rousey detailed the extensive time commitment required for the session through her Instagram post.
“Secret’s out – so here’s a free preview of this year’s 2016 SI Swimsuit issue… I was one of the lucky few chosen to be a canvas for a hand painted masterpiece by @joannegair that took 14 hours to put on and photographed by the brilliant @fredericipient – these are just behind the scenes shots taken with a phone’s camera, can’t wait to show you guys the final pics the [sic] when the issue hits stands!”
The photographs Rousey referenced were the images appearing on TMZ‘s website earlier in the day. In the photographs Ronda appeared perched on a stump, posing underneath the shade of the tropical trees surrounding Rousey.
Even more photographs from the SI swimsuit shoot have surfaced. The magazine itself decided to release behind-the-scenes snapshots of Ronda, showing Rousey lying in the sand only feet away from the ocean’s incoming tide.
Individuals won’t have to succumb to painting their bodies in order to look like Ronda Rousey did for her SI swimsuit shoot. The body art was inspired by We Are Handsome’s “The Fighter.” The actual swimsuit is a one-piece black-and-white item that retails for more than $250.
By posing for the 2016 SI swimsuit edition, Ronda continues to strike while the iron is hot by capitalizing on her previously undefeated fighting record to break into other forms of entertainment. Rousey has already parlayed her fame into movie roles in action-adventure movie franchises, appearing in The Expendables 3 and Furious 7. In addition to film roles, Ronda will also be appearing on television this month, hosting Saturday Night Live on January 23, 2016.
Rousey — the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion — has witnessed her celebrity status soar despite a November loss to Holly Holm. The loss knocked Ronda from the ranks of the undefeated after the Australian pay-per-view event.
As the SI swimsuit session shows, Rousey has become the first female main-stream star in the UFC’s ranks, inspiring many youthful females to give MMA a try. YouTube sensation Evnika Saadvakass is one of them, garnering the title of the “Next Ronda Rousey” for her efforts.
What do you think about Ronda Rousey posing for the 2016 SI swimsuit edition? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
[Photograph by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]