WWE wants UFC star Rousey to jump from oc­tagon to ring

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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 four­month 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. (AP)

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