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10 Funniest ‘Saturday Night Live’ Athlete Hosts

Ronda Rousey takes on her toughest challenge yet as host of ‘SNL’ – can she follow in the footsteps of these sports greats?

Ronda Rousey; SNL

Ronda Rousey hosts 'SNL' this weekend.

Jake Michaels/The NY Times/Redux

This weekend, UFC star and all-around badass Ronda Rousey is set to host Saturday Night Live, making her the latest in a long line of athletes to take the reins of the famed sketch comedy show throughout its 40-plus years on the air.

Whether or not Rousey is as adept on the stage as she is in the Octagon remains to be seen, but there have been plenty of past examples of athletes rising to the occasion and taking their already illustrious careers to new heights. From Peyton Manning embracing his inner heel and Derek Jeter dressing up in drag to Joe Montana getting super creepy and Charles Barkley bullying Barney, here are 10 sports stars who, well, starred as SNL hosts.

No pressure, Ronda. But hey, even if you tank, there's always someone who's done worse (we're looking at you, Michael Phelps).

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PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE OCT. 11, 2015. -- Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Ronda Rousey at the Glendale Fighting Club, Glendale, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015. Rousey, who is both sweet and vicious, and thus so intriguing to marketing and movie executives, has been taking acting classes and working with a fashion stylist. But to say she has adopted the glossy magazine Hollywood lifestyle would be a stretch. (Jake Michaels/The New York Times)

Jake Michaels/The NY Times/Redux

10

George Foreman, 1994

Like Rousey, Foreman is the rare fighter to actually land an SNL hosting spot ("Marvelous" Marvin Hagler also did it in 1986), and it came just after he shocked the world by regaining boxing's Heavyweight title at the ripe old age of 45. Flush with success – and that George Foreman Grill cash – the champ basically grinned his way through the gig, which, admittedly, is kind of what makes his entire hosting stint work, though he did score a couple of knockouts, including a sketch where he reads Chris Elliott a bedtime story, and his opening monologue, in which he proclaims, "David Spade fights like a girl."

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PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE OCT. 11, 2015. -- Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Ronda Rousey at the Glendale Fighting Club, Glendale, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015. Rousey, who is both sweet and vicious, and thus so intriguing to marketing and movie executives, has been taking acting classes and working with a fashion stylist. But to say she has adopted the glossy magazine Hollywood lifestyle would be a stretch. (Jake Michaels/The New York Times)

Jake Michaels/The NY Times/Redux

9

Wayne Gretzky, 1989

A year after leaving his native Canada to join the Los Angeles Kings, "The Great One" hit Studio 8H for a memorable turn that exemplified late Eighties excellence. The highlight is probably when he showed up on "Wayne's World," but bits featuring the likes of Phil Hartman and Victoria Jackson showed Gretzy was just as cool on SNL as he was on the ice. In addition, look for a cameo by young Conan O'Brien, then a writer on the show, which he and Gretzky reflected on in 2014.

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PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE OCT. 11, 2015. -- Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Ronda Rousey at the Glendale Fighting Club, Glendale, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015. Rousey, who is both sweet and vicious, and thus so intriguing to marketing and movie executives, has been taking acting classes and working with a fashion stylist. But to say she has adopted the glossy magazine Hollywood lifestyle would be a stretch. (Jake Michaels/The New York Times)

Jake Michaels/The NY Times/Redux

8

Tom Brady, 2005

SNL pulled off a rare feat in 2005 – they actually succeeded in making Tom Brady likable (don't kill me, Patriots Nation). Hitting the stage shortly after the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXIX, the toothsome QB awkwardly – yet charmingly – feels his away around sketches that lampoon everything from athletes bombing on SNL (in a monologue where Brady insists he can sing even though he can't hold a tune) and other sports figures (including Kenan Thompson playing Donovan McNabb's mother). The entire effort amounted into a cacophony of silly, just as SNL should be.

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PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE OCT. 11, 2015. -- Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Ronda Rousey at the Glendale Fighting Club, Glendale, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015. Rousey, who is both sweet and vicious, and thus so intriguing to marketing and movie executives, has been taking acting classes and working with a fashion stylist. But to say she has adopted the glossy magazine Hollywood lifestyle would be a stretch. (Jake Michaels/The New York Times)

Jake Michaels/The NY Times/Redux

7

Charles Barkley, 1993

One of the greatest NBA players to never win a championship, the Chuck Wagon more than made up for that fact with his turn as host on SNL's season 19 premiere. Kind of. Hitting the show just before his second year with the Phoenix Suns – after becoming a star with the Philadelphia 76ers – it was obvious Barkley was enjoying his newfound celebrity, and he had a ball playing around with early Nineties SNLers like Adam Sandler, Chris Farley and David Spade. For proof, check out his monologue – in which he plays a game of one-on-one with everyone's favorite purple dinosaur, Barney – a Smalley sketch that rivals Michael Jordan's or his spoof ad for "Charles Barkley's Big, Tall & Black Men's Store."

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PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE OCT. 11, 2015. -- Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Ronda Rousey at the Glendale Fighting Club, Glendale, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015. Rousey, who is both sweet and vicious, and thus so intriguing to marketing and movie executives, has been taking acting classes and working with a fashion stylist. But to say she has adopted the glossy magazine Hollywood lifestyle would be a stretch. (Jake Michaels/The New York Times)

Jake Michaels/The NY Times/Redux

6

LeBron James, 2007

Ever wonder what it'd be like if LeBron James starred in High School Musical? What's wrong with you? Still, his inspired turn as host on the season 33 premiere provided us with an answer. Just as James' fame was reaching stratospheric heights in Cleveland, the King headed to Studio 8H to strut his stuff in a bevy of memorable sketches, including a takeoff of the Disney musical, and an inspired "10-to-1 sketch" (also known as the last comedy bit of the night) in which a guidance counselor, expertly played by Jason Sudeikis, tries to talk a young LeBron out of attending college in lieu of joining the NBA. Sure James was a tad stiff at times, but throw in the energy of a season premiere and Kanye West as musical guest and you have a show for the record books.

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PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE OCT. 11, 2015. -- Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Ronda Rousey at the Glendale Fighting Club, Glendale, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015. Rousey, who is both sweet and vicious, and thus so intriguing to marketing and movie executives, has been taking acting classes and working with a fashion stylist. But to say she has adopted the glossy magazine Hollywood lifestyle would be a stretch. (Jake Michaels/The New York Times)

Jake Michaels/The NY Times/Redux

5

Derek Jeter, 2001

The Yankees and Saturday Night Live are New York institutions, so it made sense to have Jeter, the face of the franchise, serve as host just months after the terrorist attacks of September 11. And Jeter definitely embraced the role, dressing in drag – alongside David Cone and David Wells – in a sketch called "Yankee Wives," and dismissing his own heartthrob status ("Derek Jeter looks like if the Rock had sex with a Muppet.") That, combined with a hilarious opening monologue in which he smashed line drives at unsuspecting audience members, made his turn on SNL a classic.

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PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE OCT. 11, 2015. -- Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Ronda Rousey at the Glendale Fighting Club, Glendale, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015. Rousey, who is both sweet and vicious, and thus so intriguing to marketing and movie executives, has been taking acting classes and working with a fashion stylist. But to say she has adopted the glossy magazine Hollywood lifestyle would be a stretch. (Jake Michaels/The New York Times)

Jake Michaels/The NY Times/Redux

4

The Rock, 2000

Today he's better known as Dwayne Johnson, world's most bankable movie star, but it's easy to forget that a mere 16 years ago, he was simply "The Rock," and it could be argued that his hosting gig on SNL helped catapult him to mainstream success. He got an assist from fellow early aughts WWE stars (including Mick Foley, Big Show and Triple H), but the Rock's appearance gave us glimmers of the charismatic actor he would later become. Working alongside recurring SNL characters like Chris Kattan's Mr. Peepers and Tim Meadows' Ladies Man, he turned in a performance worthy of a championship belt, and he'd be rewarded for his efforts by being asked back to host three more times.

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PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE OCT. 11, 2015. -- Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Ronda Rousey at the Glendale Fighting Club, Glendale, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015. Rousey, who is both sweet and vicious, and thus so intriguing to marketing and movie executives, has been taking acting classes and working with a fashion stylist. But to say she has adopted the glossy magazine Hollywood lifestyle would be a stretch. (Jake Michaels/The New York Times)

Jake Michaels/The NY Times/Redux

3

Joe Montana, 1987

Montana was the host with the most. OK, so technically he co-hosted with Chicago Bears' great Walter Payton on an episode that aired the night before Super Bowl XXI, but whether he was sparring (and shuffling) with Dana Carvey's Church Lady, or declaring "I'll be in my room masturbating" in the now-classic "Sincere Guy Stu" sketch, Joe Cool was the real star, proving he had the stones to go places few athletes of his era would dare. Shit, you'd have a hard time finding one who'd push the envelope like this in 2016.

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PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE OCT. 11, 2015. -- Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Ronda Rousey at the Glendale Fighting Club, Glendale, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015. Rousey, who is both sweet and vicious, and thus so intriguing to marketing and movie executives, has been taking acting classes and working with a fashion stylist. But to say she has adopted the glossy magazine Hollywood lifestyle would be a stretch. (Jake Michaels/The New York Times)

Jake Michaels/The NY Times/Redux

2

Michael Jordan, 1991

What do you do when you're the biggest sports star on the planet? Host SNL, of course! With multiple memorable sketches, Jordan demonstrated a penchant for humor and an astute understanding of comedic timing. Case in point: his appearance on Stuart Smalley's "Daily Affirmation," where Jordan – or "Michael J," to protect his identity – gets laughs merely by riffing on his spectacular basketball skills. Smalley's repeated efforts to bolster Jordan's self-esteem ("I can imagine that, a night before a game you must lie awake thinking, 'I'm not good enough…I have no business playing this game'") fall on deaf ears, though he does get MJ to look into the mirror and repeat his self-help spiel – "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and doggone it, people like me" – while the audience whoops in approval.

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PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE OCT. 11, 2015. -- Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Ronda Rousey at the Glendale Fighting Club, Glendale, Calif., Sept. 10, 2015. Rousey, who is both sweet and vicious, and thus so intriguing to marketing and movie executives, has been taking acting classes and working with a fashion stylist. But to say she has adopted the glossy magazine Hollywood lifestyle would be a stretch. (Jake Michaels/The New York Times)

Jake Michaels/The NY Times/Redux

1

Peyton Manning, 2007

Whether you're an athlete or an actor, the key to successfully hosting SNL is simple: Be game for anything. That appeared to be Peyton Manning's mantra in 2007, when he scored a touchdown as perhaps the greatest athlete to ever host the show. While the entire episode is a treat, two sketches in particular stand out: an instant-classic short where Manning lampoons his affable nature by abusing some kid football players, and an unbelievably weird (yet wonderful) sketch where Will Forte plays a basketball coach who motivates his team with Herb Alpert's groovy theme to Casino Royale while Manning tries to keep his composure. The episode was such a hit it earned Manning a coveted spot in the monologue of the show's 40th anniversary special just last year.

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