NEW: "I'm glad it was a full house," Rousey said
Ronda Rousey beats Liz Carmouche in the first round
Rousey used her signature armbar move to force Carmouche to submit
"I thought I had it," Carmouche said
When mixed martial arts fighters Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche stepped into the octagon Saturday night, they made history for women’s sports.
When Rousey stepped out, she was the champion in the first women’s match in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Rousey and Carmouche met in the headline fight for the UFC 157 pay-per-view event in the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Rousey used her signature armbar move to force Carmouche to submit late in the first round.
“The place was going nuts,” Rousey said, “and I’m glad it was a full house and I’m just honored to be a part of it.”
Just having two women in the ring was a historic first for the UFC, which has been around since 1993.
In 2011, UFC President Dana White said there would never be a women’s MMA match in the UFC. At the time, he wasn’t convinced people would pay to watch women fight.
But then Rousey came along, and White changed his mind.
“I know I was the one talking smack about women’s MMA,” White said Saturday night. “But I believed in this fight, and I believed in it enough to make it the main event.”
Before becoming an MMA fighter, Rousey competed in judo. She took bronze at the 2008 Olympics, becoming the first American to win a women’s judo medal since it became an Olympic sport in 1992.
On Saturday, Rousey found herself in early trouble for the first time as an MMA fighter. Carmouche, a former U.S. Marine, mounted Rousey’s back and tried a neck crank for several seconds before Rousey escaped.
“I wasn’t worried, but I was very aware of the situation,” Rousey said.
Rousey recovered, responded with a series of strikes and eventually got Carmouche in an armbar. Carmouche quickly tapped out.
“It was a great fight,” Carmouche said afterward. “I thought I had it.”
The armbar has been a reliable weapon for Rousey. She had won by armbar in all six of her previous MMA matches before joining UFC. And like Saturday, all six of those came in the first round.
Rousey improved to 7-0 in her MMA career and made history by winning the first women’s match in the UFC. Now, she just might become a household name.
“This is something really special and it might take a little to really sink in,” she said.
CNN’s Jason Moon contributed to this report.