Meet the Badass Women Fighters Vying To Be the Next Ronda Rousey

Everyone’s on the lookout for the UFC’s next combination of beauty and brawn.

What do an eight-year-old Russian girl, pre-teen sisters in Tennessee and 21-year-old MMA fighter Paige VanZant have in common? They’ve all been labeled the “next Ronda Rousey.”

As the 28-year-old champ’s transition away from fighting begins, fans of women bludgeoning each other in the face are on the look out for the next fierce female fighter with a sweet smile and devastating armbar.

The most likely contender is VanZant, a young fighter with a 3-0 UFC record. VanZant is often compared to Rousey because she’s easy on the eyes and a killer in the ring, but it’s not a claim she’s ready to make herself. “It’s as much a compliment for people to even say that,” she recently said of the comparison. “But those are definitely huge shoes to fill and I have a long way before I can make that comparison. But I’m thankful that people see that, and I definitely want to follow in her footsteps.”

When it comes to fighting, VanZant has a long way to go to reach Rousey’s level, but she’s already able to match her blow for blow in a battle of glamor shots.


Aug 5, 2015 at 8:36am PDT

If VanZant can’t fulfill her promise as the next Rowdy Ronda though, a handful of young women are waiting in the wings. On Monday the New York Post ran a short story about two Tennessee sitters, Maria and Valery Byster, 11 and 10 years old respectively, who it suggests “might be the next Ronda Rousey.” How two people could be the next version of one person is a mystery that remains unsolved, but apparently these little badasses are already destroying all comers. 

Lastly, there’s an eight-year-old in Russia who looks poised to enter the UFC before she enters middle school. Evnika Saadvakass has gained a modicum of internet fame thanks to the videos of her pulling off amazing physical feats. There’s one showing her throw 100 punches in a minute and a personal favorite, one of her punching a tree in the Russian woods. Which makes us think of a plan B for her. If she can’t be the “the next Ronda Rousey,” as has been suggested, she could be the next Ivan Drago.

Photos by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images