Ronda Rousey is among a group of strong, talented women who are nominated for the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year Award.
The UFC fighter–who is taking a break from the cage after her first loss back in November–is up against U.S. soccer player Carli Lloyd and Serena Williams, and the winner will be announced on Friday. For Rousey, the nomination comes at just the right time.
“Ronda Rousey has become the biggest star in mixed martial arts and a global celebrity, even as she ended a tumultuous year without her title belt. Rousey won two fights in a combined 48 seconds early in 2015 before losing to Holly Holm last month in one of the biggest upsets in recent sports history. After Rousey’s meteoric ascent and jarring fall in between her acting jobs and provocative interviews, the sports world waits to see whether an athlete who once seemed invincible can win back her title,” writes Associated Press writer Greg Beacham.
Rousey has had a rough year after seeing her career rise so quickly; aside from the huge upset during her match with Holly Holm, the former champ has battled rumors and speculation about her boyfriend, who was accused of domestic abuse by his ex. Rousey recently gave an interview to ESPN about her loss and about her beau, fellow fighter Todd Browne, and said that she believes him when he says he’s innocent, despite what everyone else thinks.
“It’s hard, it’s really hard. I’m very anti-domestic violence. But I know that he didn’t do anything. Now I’m put in this situation where I’m finally happy with somebody that respects me and cares about me, and I’m like, ‘What do I do?’ At the end of the day, I can’t curl up with people’s opinions,” Rousey said.
For now, Ronda is taking time off and enjoying an anonymous life wherever she can get it; the high-profile fighter and actress recently posted a photo on Instagram of herself dressed as a storm trooper for the Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere.