We totally called it.
Ronda Rousey will appear in the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue—and this time, she’ll be “wearing” nothing but body paint.
— SI Swimsuit (@SI_Swimsuit) January 7, 2016
SI had teased the possibility of Rousey’s appearance on Wednesday, as photo editor MJ Day dropped this not-so-ambiguous shot of someone’s painted derriere. Their staff hemmed and hawed, playing up the “we can neither confirm or deny” schtick, but let’s be real, folks: Her wrist tattoos totally gave it away.
(Her “suit” in the photoshoot—which, again, will actually just be body paint—is based off an actual fabric suit called “The Fighter” by women’s swim- and activewear brand We Are Handsome. Just in case, you know, your girlfriend is in the market for a white tiger swimsuit.)
Rousey’s return continues a new direction for SI, which has increasingly casted athletes and Olympians for its Swimsuit issue to compete with ESPN the Magazine‘s body issue. And for Rousey, it marks a big re-entry into the public eye after her high-profile loss to Holly Holm, along with her first-ever gig hosting Saturday Night Live on January 23.
Oh, and for the record, this isn’t Ronda’s first time gracing SI Swimsuit: A (then-undefeated) Rousey posed—topless, in some cases—for the Swimsuit issue in 2015 as well.
Even better news: Kelly Rohrback, who starred in the 2015 Swimsuit issue, is taking up Pamela Anderson’s role as C.J. Parker in the new Baywatch movie.
(Here’s a link to the official release from Sports Illustrated.)