Rousey 'built this house' for women fighters in UFC - White

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Women's fighting in UFC is what it is today because of Ronda Rousey, claims president Dana White.

A pioneer for the sport in the octagon, Rousey went 12-0 before a pair of losses derailed the mixed-martial arts star.

Rousey's future is up in the air after her loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207, but White is forever grateful to the 30-year-old American.

"Ronda came into this sport and the only reason women fight here is because of Ronda Rousey," White told Sports Illustrated.

"I did that initial meeting with her and I remember calling Lorenzo [Fertitta]: 'I just met with that Ronda Rousey girl and I think I'm gonna do this!'"

Naturally, White was met with scepticism, but he said he knew to trust his gut and sign Rousey.

"Everything she told me she would do, she did," White said. "She worked her ass off for this sport, for this company, for women. She worked herself to the bone.

I've never had a fighter work [with publicity] the way she has. She's made a lot of money.

"I know for her that doesn't matter -- her legacy means more to her than anything else. But you know what, sometimes we can't have it all. But let's be clear: she built this house. She really did."

Rousey has been keeping a low profile since her New Year's Eve loss to Nunes.

While White said he cares about her deeply as a professional and a friend, he is not sure if she will return to the sport.

"She's so f****** strong-willed," White added. "She knows what she wants and doesn't want.

"If she calls me today and says, 'I'm done. I'm gonna wrap it and call it a career,' I'm gonna be like, 'Awesome. That's amazing. We'll plan something.' And if she calls me and says, 'I want three more fights,' she's got it. She'll make that decision on her own."