Former UFC star Ronda Rousey has signed a full-time contract with the WWE.
The WWE confirmed the pact after Rousey made a surprise appearance at the first-ever Royal Rumble women’s match Sunday in Philadelphia.
Japanese wrestling star Asuka beat Nikki Bella to win the Royal Rumble. After the match, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair walked into the ring holding their championship belts. Rousey soon joined them as Bad Reputation played through the speakers. After entering the ring, Rousey pointed to the WrestleMania sign and attempted to shake Asuka’s hand, but had it slapped away. She pointed to the sign again, shook Stephanie McMahon’s hand and departed.
After making the appearance, ESPN reported Rousey agreed to be a full-time professional wrestler with WWE.
“This is my life now,” Rousey told ESPN. “First priority on my timeline for the next several years. This is not a smash-and-grab; this is not a publicity stunt. When I first met with Triple H, I told him, ‘There are other things I can do with my time that’ll make way more money, but I won’t enjoy nearly as much.'”
Rousey, 30, hasn’t fought in UFC since her Dec. 30, 2016 loss to Amanda Nunes in UFC 207. The first loss of her career came in the prior fight, on Nov. 14, 2015 to Holly Holm at UFC 193. She owns a career record of 12-2.
WrestleMania 34 is set for April 8 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.
“I really don’t know how to process this,” Rousey told the WWE Sunday night. “This is not something that I do everyday. This is very different than fighting. I haven’t like walked into anywhere to enjoy the event. I walk into place to enjoy the result. It was a real pleasure to really be able to soak up and enjoy and savor every single second. I’m just so incredibly lucky.”
Rousey said her gesture at the sign was a “pretty big fat hint” that she will be at WrestleMania.