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Ronda Rousey Will Wear Nothing But Body Paint for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue

January 7, 2016, 9:29 PM UTC
UFC Go Big Launch Event
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 04: UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey speaks to the fans during the UFC's Go Big launch event inside MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 4, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Photography by Josh Hedges—Zuffa LLC

Ronda Rousey is making a comeback…at least when it comes to her modeling career.

Rumors began circling on Wednesday afternoon that the UFC fighter would be appearing in Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit Issue 2016 after SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day posted an Instagram photo of an unnamed woman’s derriere.

On Thursday, Rousey herself confirmed that she would be making an appearance in the issue, with another Instagram post. The caption on the photo reads: “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 [Joanne Gair] that took 14 hours to put on and photographed by the brilliant [Frederic Pinet].”

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According to SI, the reason for the sneak preview is that “some eager paparazzi” managed to snap photographs of Rousey.

This will be the second time the mixed martial arts champion appears in the Swimsuit Issue; her 2015 photoshoot was one of her biggest forays into the mainstream, and is one of the highlights of a modeling career that includes cover appearances in Maxim, ESPN Magazine, and Self.


Undefeated until last November, the athlete stunned fans when she lost to fellow bantamweight fighter Holly Holm at UFC 193. The loss sparked a public outcry against Rousey, who seemed to turn from Internet darling to public enemy no. 1 practically overnight, calling into question her marketability.

If all the buzz about the not-yet-released Swimsuit Issue is an indication, Rousey’s reign is far from over.