Rousey is also making a mark as the first cover girl to appear wearing only body paint.
Ashley Graham, Nicola Griffin and Philomena Kwao star in a swimwear ad with a difference. Hailey Clauson in the old "hand bra"! The choice to highlight Graham and Rousey is monumental; a major shift for an industry that has long held a narrow view of beauty.
On Saturday night, Sports Illustratedunveiled the 2016 Swimsuit Issue cover - and not one, but three handsome ladies are starring on the mag's annual cover. "She never looked in the mirror and said she was ugly", Graham said. "And in that moment, I knew that I wasn't just there as a favor". But this year, she becomes the first non-model athlete to land a cover spot, and just the second non-model - after Beyoncé Knowles - to grace the cover.
Last year's cover featuring American model Hannah Davis left very little to the imagination.
Actor, comedian and recording artist Nick Cannon and "The Librarians" star and "Skin Wars" host Rebecca Romijn led the festivities, which celebrated the women in this year's edition.
"We are going to be the ones that say, 'it doesn't matter what size you are, it doesn't matter if you have cellulite, it doesn't matter if things jiggle where they're not supposed to".