Las Vegas Sun

Currently: 55° | Complete forecast |

Ready to Rumble? Rousey faces uncertain future outside UFC

Rousey

John Locher / AP File (2016)

Amanda Nunes, right, connects against Ronda Rousey in their women’s bantamweight championship mixed martial arts bout on Dec. 20, 2016, at UFC 207, in Las Vegas. Rousey is in South America to film the action thriller “Mile 22” with Mark Wahlberg and John Malkovich. She has not fought since her loss to Nunes at UFC 207.

PHILADELPHIA — Ronda Rousey might not yet be ready to rumble.

Rousey posted an Instagram video over the weekend of herself in Colombia enjoying a night out with the crew filming her latest movie.

Rousey, the UFC superstar on perhaps permanent hiatus from mixed martial arts, laughed as she panned the camera around the table and had her party shout out what kind of food was on their plates.

"We have a smorgasbord of cultural amazingness," Rousey said.

Rousey is in South America to film the action thriller "Mile 22" with Mark Wahlberg and John Malkovich. She has not fought since she suffered a 48-second loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December 2016. Rousey (12-2) lost two straight bouts in 13 months and took a break to extend her entertainment credits, including a stint as team coach in the reboot of "Battle of the Network Stars."

Her next battle could come inside a WWE ring.

Rousey has met with WWE executives about the possibility of leaving the octagon for a career in sports entertainment.

WWE fans have been clamoring for Rousey to make the move and speculation ran wild that she would make her debut Sunday at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Rousey has made cameo appearances on WWE programming the last few years and even trained at the company's performance center in Orlando, Florida .

WWE will hold its first women's Royal Rumble match (an over-the-top-rope battle royale) which seemed for some fans an opportune time to debut Rousey. Rousey told TMZ that she would not return from Colombia until February and ruled out a surprise appearance at the Royal Rumble.

"I haven't signed anything," Rousey said. "No pen to paper for me."

But will the "Rowdy" one eventually make the UFC-for-WWE trade?

UFC President Dana White said Rousey would never fight again for the company. WWE executive Paul Levesque, better known as wrestling superstar Triple H, has met frequently with Rousey to discuss her interest in a deal .

"We've had discussions and we've talked about a million different things," Levesque said. "She's interested. We're interested. We've had back-and-forth conversations. We're busy. She's busy. Getting to the point of being able to sit down and hammer something out has not happened yet. But the interest is clearly there. She has loved the pro wrestling industry since he was a kid."

Rousey adopted the "Rowdy" nickname from WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. She notably stood side-by-side with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as they fought off the villainous Triple H and his wife and fellow executive, Stephanie McMahon, in a segment at WrestleMania in 2015.

Rousey also appeared at WWE's Mae Young Classic. Rousey and fellow MMA fighters Marina Shafir, Shayna Baszler and Jessamyn Duke were known as the Four Horsewomen — a tribute to the nefarious Ric Flair-led Four Horsemen stable of the 1980s and '90s. Baszler now wrestles for WWE, and the rest of the Horsewomen stable confronted WWE stars Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Bayley at the female wrestling tournament.

"Name the time. Name the place," Rousey told the WWE stars in a tense standoff.

It seems unlikely Philly is the place. Mayor Jim Kenney proclaimed this week "WWE Royal Rumble Week" in Philadelphia to honor four straight nights of shows that started Saturday and include the Rumble, and televised shows Monday ("Raw") and Tuesday ("Smackdown Live!").

Rousey could lead her Horsewomen against a WWE faction at WrestleMania on April 8.

"I think with her main eventing in UFC, she obviously opened the door for us to be taken more serious as superstars," said Flair, daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair. "It's one thing to show up one night. It's another be a WWE superstar. I'm on the road with all the other girls, all the men and women who are on the road 270 days a year. We bust our butts to be called WWE superstars.

"She'll have to put in the work if she wants to be a part of what we do."

The best scenario for WWE would be Rousey being used sparingly and steamrolling every opponent, much like she did early in her MMA career to earn the reputation as the Baddest Woman on the Planet.

"Ronda Rousey should go out there and just smash everybody. Ronda Rousey's matches should look like her early UFC career where she was out there for a minute, 2 minutes, just submitting everybody," UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier said.