The mixed martial arts fighter-turned-actress bared all for the beach shots last month (Jan16) and her cover, one of three for the annual swimsuit edition, was officially unveiled on Saturday (13Feb16).

In the accompanying article, the 29-year-old admits she felt so awkward as body painting experts covered all of her nooks and crannies.

"The most memorable thing was me bent over on a table while someone took a little paintbrush and just coloured circles around my butthole," she laughed to the publication. "And I was like, 'I am not used to anything cold and wet being there.' So it was really odd."

And although Ronda insists she didn't feel naked in the paint during the two-day shoot, she missed having the support of her bra.

"I'm standing there naked for 14 hours and shooting for all this time and at the end of the day, they're like, 'Do you want to eat? Do you want water? Do you want anything else?'," she recalled. "I'm like 'No, I want a bra pronto. All other needs come later.'"

Ronda's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue will appear on shelves alongside covers featuring models Hailey Clauson and plus-size beauty Ashley Graham, and the UFC star is proud to represent a different type of beauty.

"This is like a dream I forgot to have and ended up having anyway," she gushed about landing the cover. "I love that all the covers are three different body types in their healthiest form."

The honour is all the more poignant for Ronda as she struggled to accept her muscular figure during her youth.

"In high school, people would be asking me to flex and grabbing my arms to the point where I was wearing zip up hoodies to cover my arms, even if it was 90 degrees out," she said. "You shouldn't be self conscious about being yourself. And there's many different kinds of beauty and I'm glad it's being shown."