It’s hard to believe that only a few short years ago Ronda began her MMA career with her first amateur bout in 2010. The judo rock star was the first American woman to ever win a bronze medal in the sport in the Olympics, and holds a 4th Dan black belt in judo. Impressive, right? Oh but it continues to go on, as Rousey appears to be just on the cusp of her goals conquering the globe as one of the most decorated female athletes of all time.

You can’t discuss Ronda without noting that fans either absolutely adore her, or despise her. This mostly comes from her demeanor on television and social media, but most would say they think she is misunderstood. Rousey comes across with a thick attitude, however if you’ve followed her career and her more in-depth interviews you would know that she has faced tragedy in her life and not only overcame it, but entirely blew the thought of failure out of the water.

The female bantamweight UFC champion has broken down every barrier that ever existed for young ladies growing up aspiring to be athletes. When Ronda began climbing to fame with judo, it was still a very tabooed image that martial arts of any sort was extremely male dominated. She’s provided an outlet for girls to see that they too are limitless when diligence and courage are applied.

Years ago fans of the UFC assumed we would never see a woman on a pay per view special, much less to ever see one headlining the whole card. That success is partly attributed to the fame that Rousey has brought to the sport. She not only wins her fights, but she wins them in quick, devastating fashion more often than not. Other female fighters such as Miesha Tate, Cris Cyborg, Sarah Kaufman, and Cat Zingano have all continued to pave the way for the girls waiting in the wings to take on the limelight. As a result of the dominant performances these ladies have put on in the cage, fans are climbing out of the woodwork to see them fight raising pay per view buys to new all-time highs.

Becoming a worthy role model doesn’t happen overnight though, and often it doesn’t come just by winning fights. The champ embarked on a charitable campaign to support five different charities in 2014, asking her fans to make a donation via her website then post a picture on social media with the hashtag #unselfie and she would then pick a few winners at random for autographed prizes. She’s also been very vocal on what type of image she wishes to portray from a physically revealing standpoint; Ronda’s aimed to not ever allow photos of her for example that are not tasteful or something she would allow her little sister to see. Rousey isn’t spending her every waking minute on Instagram posting selfies at Starbucks either, she works hard and realizes her amazing career could be taken away at a moment’s notice. Not every female celebrity at 28 has figured that out yet, and the success, determination, and self-respect she exudes is why Ronda Rousey will always be a terrific example for young girls to never be intimidated of reaching for the stars.