Ronda Rousey in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Ronda Rousey Swim Suit
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has been published since 1964. Some of the most popular models have graced the SI Swim cover over the years from Cheryl Tiegs, Elle Macpherson and Christie Brinkley to Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks. Elle Machperson has the most covers to her credit with five.

Every year there’s some sort of buzz around the models and not only who made the cover but also who was left out. Fans of athletic females tend to point to fitness models and wonder why none of them are featured. The rationale you’ll find it all over the place. If you’re looking for athletic women featured in a magazine, you’re better off picking up ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue. While it’s more the exception than the norm, there have been female athletes featured in the magazine over the years. The majority of the athletes featured have been tennis players with Steffi Graf, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Anna Kournikova all being featured in the magazine. In the 2010 issue, Winter Olympians Hannah Teter, Lindsey Vonn, Ana Ivanovic, Lacy Schnoor and Clair Bidez were featured.

This year two female athletes are featured in the magazine. Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki and UFC champion Ronda Rousey. While it’s not surprising to see a tennis athlete featured it is highly unusual to see a mixed martial artist in the swimsuit issue. Rousey has become one of the most popular fighters in the UFC. She’s without question the most popular in the women’s division but she’s arguably becoming the most recognized in the entire organization. She’s has roles in the Expendables and has an upcoming part in Entourage the movie. Rousey’s stock continues to rise as she dominates inside the octagon and will looks to do so again later this month (Feb. 28th) when she fights Kat Zingano.

ronda Rousey

Rousey shared a few of the images on her Facebook page and shared, “I purposely tried to get a little bit heavier for the SI issue so I was a little bit curvier and not in top fight shape look but the look at which I feel I’m the most attractive. It’s very natural for a person’s body to go through seasons.”

While Rousey lacks no confidence in her fight game she admitted, “I’m not the best model in the world. I try my best.” She goes on to share in a behind the scenes video, “Strong and healthy is the new sexy.”

Rousey SI Swim

Ronda reminded everyone that those photos were taken months ago, as common with every magazine, and she currently has other matters at hand. If you’re thinking of talking negatively about her photos or her decision to appear in the magazine, watch the clip below before you do…

Check out Ronda and all the women in this year’s SI SWIM issue.

Photos via Sports Illustrated by Walter Looss Jr.

Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.