When the UFC rolled the dice in 2012 to start up a women’s featherweight division centered around Ronda Rousey (pictured), UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta predicted Rousey would bank millions of dollars en route to becoming a massive superstar.
Fast forward just three years and Rousey is already the eighth-highest paid female athlete in the world. According to Forbes.com, the reigning UFC featherweight queen made $6.5 million between June 2014 to June 2015. Of that, $3.5 million came via salary/winnings over two fights and $3 million from endorsements.
“The mixed martial arts champion is the breakout star of the UFC with roles in three big budget movies over the past 12 months, a best-selling book and an appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated,” Forbes wrote. “Her endorsement portfolio includes Reebok, Metro PCS, Monster headphones, Buffalo David Bitton and Carl’s Jr.”
During Forbes’ 12-month timeline, Rousey was in the cage twice for only 30 seconds. She knocked out Alexis Davis in 16 ticks at UFC 175 and followed that quickie up by submitting Cat Zingano in 14 Mississippis at UFC 184.
As UFC champion, Rousey gets a disclosed percentage of every pay-per-view she performs in. Her and Davis served as the co-main attraction behind middleweight champ Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida at UFC 175, but headlined UFC 184 alongside Zingano.
Rousey also appeared in the movies “The Expendables 3,” “Furious 7” and “Entourage.”
Just in case you were wondering, tennis hottie Maria Sharapova topped Forbes’ female list at $29.7 million, while boxer Floyd Mayweather banked $300 million to lead every athlete.