Ronda Rousey dedicates upcoming UFC fight to late wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper

Ronda Rousey has said she will be fighting for the late Roddy Piper, the Hall of Fame wrestler who gave her his “Rowdy” nickname, when she takes on the Brazilian challenger Bethe Correia at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night.

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Not long after the WWE confirmed Piper’s death on Friday, Rousey posted a photo of him on her Instagram account and said: “This one’s for you Roddy…” Rousey added that she “will do it justice and do you proud”.

The biggest star in UFC, Rousey thanked Piper “for the name … and so much more”. She has said several times that Piper is one of her greatest idols.

Piper was one of the biggest wrestling stars of the 1980s and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. He died at the age of 61.

Piper, born Roderick Toombs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is the second WWE Hall of Famer to die this summer, following the June death of Dusty Rhodes. Piper’s death also came days after Hulk Hogan, his biggest rival for decades, was fired by the WWE. Hogan had used racial slurs in a conversation captured on a sex tape.

Piper and Hogan battled for years and headlined some of the biggest matches during the 1980s. Hogan and Mr T beat Piper and Paul Orndorff on 31 March 1985, at the first WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden.

On Friday, WWE chairman Vince McMahon called Piper “one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world”.

Rousey will make her sixth consecutive title defence in Brazil on Saturday, as the biggest favorite in the history of the UFC. Sports Illustrated recently named her as the most dominant athlete on the planet; she was also the ESPN female athlete of the year in 2014 and 2015.