Ronda Rousey To Be Featured On Cover Of Sports Illustrated 2016 Swimsuit Edition

Ronda Rousey, UFC fighter and action film star, can add swimsuit model to her resume. Sports Illustrated announced via Twitter that Rousey would be one of three women featured on three separate covers of the annual swimsuit issue.

Ronda underwent an extensive body painting session for the photo layout, not once, but twice according to Fox Sports. After the paparazzi leaked pictures of Rousey in her initial body paint, Sports Illustrated decided to reshoot Ronda’s photos.

While this isn’t the first time Rousey has been included in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated, this is Ronda’s first time gracing the cover. In fact, Rousey’s appearance is the first time any mixed martial artist has suited up on the special edition of Sports Illustrated. The other two covers will feature high fashion model Hailey Clauson and plus sized model Ashley Graham.

Sports Illustrated states it used a different approach this year in putting together the swimsuit issue by choosing to feature and celebrate a variety of female body types. MJ Day, the assistant managing editor of the magazine reflected on the choice to use Rousey, Clauson, and Graham: “All three women are beautiful, sexy, and strong. Beauty is not cookie cutter. Beauty is not ‘one size fits all.'”

While the other models don actual swimsuits, according to Yahoo, Rousey’s is a one piece entirely made of paint. Two other athletic women agreed to have their swimsuits painted on like Ronday Rousey–skier Lindsay Vonn and tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.

Ronda Rousey has been very forthcoming with her willingness to show her body. Rousey told the New York Times in October she was fed up with how the female body image was under constant scrutiny by Hollywood. Ronda even revealed a brief struggle with bulimia as a teenager. Now, Rousey is embracing her athletic form and hoping to help change societal perception.

“If I can represent that body type of women that isn’t represented so much in media, then I’d be happy to do that.”

But what about those people who might say Ronda Rousey is setting women back by posing nearly nude on the cover of a magazine? Ronda says that’s bologna. “I think that’s one really effective way to change the societal standard women are held to.”

This is Ronda Rousey’s second time appearing clothesless on a magazine cover. In 2012, Ronda posed on the cover of ESPN magazine wearing nothing but her mixed martial art hand wraps. While Rousey maintains her fighter’s body, her career focus has shifted to acting.

Ronda suffered a devastating loss to Holly Holm in November, losing her UFC Bantamweight and a little bit of pride in the process. As Rousey recovers from the beating she suffered in which punches and kicks from Holm knocked several of Ronda’s teeth loose, Rousey has been shooting the reboot of Roadhouse and is linked to an upcoming project with comedian Tina Fey.

Ronda Rousey receives medical attention following loss to Holly Holm. Image via Quinn Rooney/Getty.

MMA fans will be happy to hear that the former champ is gearing up to head back to the arena that made Ronda Rousey a household name, however. Sports Illustrated recently reported that Ronda has finally stepped back in the gym for the first time in preparation for her return to the ring in November. UFC President Dana White announced last week that Rousey will be fighting the winner of Holly Holm vs Miesha Tate. While Rousey may be hoping to draw Tate, a fighter she’s already beaten twice, given Ronda’s history of pushing to overcome diversity, it’s more likely she is hoping for the opportunity to get a rematch with the only one to ever beat her in the octagon…Holly Holm.

[Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images]