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From KC Chiefs cheerleader to MMA star? Rachel Wray gets into the ring

Dec 14, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT

rachelwray Getty Images

So far UFC’s new women’s division seems pretty legit: Ronda Rousey (an Olympic medalist in judo) and Liz Carmouche (three tours of duty in Middle East with U.S. Marines) will face off in UFC’s first-ever female bout in Feb. Could we be seeing the next big UFC women’s star in the making?

So, Rachel Wray (middle in photo) is a former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader who has given up the pom-poms for striking gloves. Does this bode well for women in the sport? We’ll see. But she is getting a lot of attention, because let’s face it, she’s very easy to look at. KCMMA:

“Last year, I was a Chiefs Cheerleader. I have been a cheerleader or dancer my whole life and I moved here from Arkansas to cheer for the Kansas City Chiefs. I started working out at Title Boxing Club with some of the girls for an alternative workout,” Wray said. “I really enjoyed it and started taking private lessons after a little while. One day, I came in and they wanted me to spar. I was nervous about someone actually punching me in the face, but I did it.

“I was absolutely horrible. This drove me to want it even more. I knew I had to make a choice between fighting and cheerleading. I chose fighting.”

Wray, who fights for a league called Ultimate Blue Corner in Kansas City, has a 2-0 MMA record, with one of those being a forfeit. Not exactly a dazzling resume, but perhaps Dana White will take notice.

UFC could have gone all Lingerie Football League on us with their new women’s division, making it all about looks. But White didn’t do that. Wray, if she turns out to be legitimately good, could bridge the gap between striking good looks and, well, striking. I fort one will watch her progress closely.