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Tuesday October 23rd, 2018 12:22PM

WWE wants UFC star Rousey to jump from octagon to ring

By The Associated Press
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UFC star Ronda Rousey's next fight could come in a WWE ring.

WWE executive Paul Levesque, better known as wrestling superstar Triple H, had dinner with Rousey in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, again fueling speculation that UFC's biggest female star could leave the octagon for a career in sports entertainment.

"We are talking to Ronda, as we've been for a while," Levesque told The Associated Press by phone on Wednesday. "She has a lot of things going on. We have a lot of things going on. But we have a great relationship with her, a very friendly standpoint for a long period of time now. It was great to catch up with her."

Rousey, once the most dominant fighter in mixed martial arts, has not competed since she suffered a 48-second loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December 2016. Rousey (12-2) lost two straight bouts in 13 months and took a hiatus that saw her branch out into other forms of entertainment.

Rousey, who adopted the "Rowdy" nickname from WWE Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, is a big wrestling fan as made guest appearances at WWE events. She notably stood side-by-side with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as they fought off the villainous Triple H and his wife and fellow executive, Stephanie McMahon.

The Rock raised Rousey's arm in celebration at the end of the segment held at WrestleMania in 2015. Rousey has since appeared in the stands at events for WWE's developmental system, NXT.

Rousey and fellow UFC fighters Marina Shafir, Shayna Baszler and Jessamyn Duke were known as the Four Horsewomen — a tribute to the nefarious Ric Flair-led Four Horsemen stable of the 1980s and '90s. Baszler has signed with WWE and wrestles in NXT.

The WWE recently announced it will hold its first women's Royal Rumble match (an over-the-top-rope battle royale) at the Jan. 28 Royal Rumble pay-per-view in Philadelphia. The match would be a splendid time to showcase Rousey in her WWE debut if she can break free from her film commitments. Rousey could also lead her Horsewomen against a WWE faction at WrestleMania on April 8.

Or, it could just be buzz designed to keep Rousey in the news and give the WWE a publicity boost as it heads toward its biggest four-month stretch of the year.

"We have nothing to announce at this time," Levesque said. "But she's a huge fan of what we do and she's incredibly interested in what we do and the opportunities that lie there. We're fans of hers and incredibly interested in what those opportunities could be with us. But there's a lot of things to walk through. We're talking. We're having conversations."

UFC President Dana White was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

Levesque was in Los Angeles to speak on a Television Critics Association panel.

Rousey refused to comment when approached by TMZ, only saying, "I enjoy fine dining."

But it's clear that the Rousey-wrestling connection appeals to WWE.

"I'd love it," Levesque said.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News
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