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Ronda Rousey is one of the most influential fighters in mixed martial arts. Her fall from grace was steep but UFC president Dana White claims her rise in popularity and late-career decline are related.

Rousey became one of the UFC's most popular stars and a legitimate mainstream attraction during her three-year tenure with the promotion. The UFC's first female champion and signee had a remarkable ability to armbar nearly every opponent, plus blossoming knockout power in the second half of her career.

"What happened with Ronda was -- Ronda was very unique in that she came in and put this thing on the world stage," White explained on "The Club Shay Shay" podcast. "This thing being women fighting. She put it on the world stage at a level that nobody else could have done it. While she was doing what she was doing, building the sport and the UFC and women, all these other women were training to beat her."

Rousey parlayed her sports fame into Hollywood appearances. She made her acting debut in 2014's "The Expendables" followed by appearances in "Furious 7" and "Entourage" the following year. White claims other fighters were rounding out their skills while Rousey was boosting her brand and the UFC's.

"She had taken so much on her shoulders at the time, it was literally impossible for her to keep growing as a fighter during that period," White said.

Rousey suffered her only career losses via back-to-back KOs to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Rousey retired shortly after before embarking on a successful professional wrestling career with WWE that has since ended.

"I was sad that I wouldn't work with her on a daily basis like we did but I felt like the timing was right," White said. "She had done everything she set out to do. Not just for her and her career but what she did for women in fighting in general.

"The greatest athlete I've ever worked with. She was huge [for the UFC]. At the right time and the right place and women's fighting is where it is today because of her. She was one of those athletes like anything, anywhere, any time. She was a workhorse. Great human being. Brilliant. The greatest athlete I've ever worked with."

UFC Hall of Famer Rousey had a rather clean-cut divorce from MMA. The former women's bantamweight champion claims the media vilified her and she worried that fans would not welcome her back in a non-athletic capacity.