Add another accolade to the trophy case of UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Video game publisher EA Sports announced Friday that Rousey has been selected as the cover athlete for EA Sports UFC 2, marking the first time that a female athlete will grace the cover of a global EA Sports title.
"EA Sports is a cultural barometer to know what's going on in sports at the moment," Rousey said in a statement. "As a gamer myself, it's pretty surreal to be on the cover of the game and to have a woman on the cover of a UFC game shows a lot of progress. I'm really happy to be involved with it."
The announcement comes just days before Rousey (12-0) is scheduled to defend her UFC title against undefeated challenger Holly Holm at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia at UFC 193. With over 50,000 fans expected to attend, the Nov. 15 show could wind up being the biggest UFC event in the promotion's history.
Rousey, 28, has seen her star explode over the past two years, propelled in large part by a trio of victories in a combined 64 seconds of fight time. She defended her UFC title with a stunning 16-second knockout of Alexis Davis in July 2014, then bested that time with a 14-second submission of Cat Zingano in Feb. 2015. Her masterpiece, though, came this past August when Rousey scored a brutal one-punch knockout over Bethe Correia in 34 seconds at UFC 190.
Rousey's victory over Correia pulled in the largest estimated pay-per-view buyrate of 2015, cementing the judo champion as unquestionably the biggest draw in the UFC.
She now joins the company of Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson, the two light heavyweight rivals who last year graced the cover of EA Sports' debut into the MMA space. Similar to that game, Rousey will share the cover with another as-of-yet unnamed UFC fighter.
EA Sports UFC 2 is expected to be released in Spring 2016 on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A trailer for the game can be seen here.
"Like any champion fighter going into their next fight, we listened to our corner -- in our case, the fans -- and took a detailed look at everything we can do to take the fight game to a whole new level," Creative Director Brian Hayes said in a statement. "We're doing that by introducing innovative gameplay features, delivering a game mode for every fighter regardless of their style of play, and adding helpful tools so fans can master MMA, all while retaining our belt as the best looking sports game on the market."