Ronda Rousey made history Thursday as she became the first woman inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
“I am not the first person who had the ability to do this, but I am here because I am the first person you took the time to watch,” Rousey told the crowd at the Pearl Theatre during her induction speech, via ESPN. “That you put the energy into supporting. Because of you, I am the first woman standing up here accepting this incredible honor. May I be the first of many.”
Rousey was the first woman to win a UFC fight and on the same night she became the first women’s bantamweight champion with her victory over Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 in 2013.
The 31-year-old went on to defend her title six times, which remains the record for most title defenses by a woman in UFC history. But she eventually lost her belt to Holly Holm after UFC 193.
“In my almost 18 years as UFC president, I’ve learned many valuable lessons,” Dana White White said Thursday. “And the one that comes to mind tonight is never say never, especially when you’re talking to UFC. In my defense, when I famously said women would never fight in the UFC, I had never met Ronda Rousey. I had never met the woman who would change everything. She started by changing my mind and she ended up changing the world.”
Rousey, who hasn’t competed in MMA since a UFC 207 loss in 2016, finished with a 12-2 career record and she owns records for four of the five fastest finishes in UFC women’s bantamweight history. She signed with WWE in January.
She joins Urijah Faber, Forrest Griffin and BJ Penn as the 2018 inductees into the UFC’s Modern Wing.