A photo of a toned derriere, bodypainted to look like the model is wearing a grey and white swimsuit, has the internet in overdrive with speculation that it belongs to Ronda Rousey.

The image posted on Instagram by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editor MJ Day hints that the mystery model will feature in their February 2016 edition.

Keen-eyed viewers noted the blonde hair, muscular physique and tattoo's identify Rousey as the model.

The former UFC champion previously debuted new ink on both wrists, a kodokan flower on her right and octagon on her left, both of which are present in the SI snap.

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Rousey posed for Sports Illustrated in 2015, wearing a series of skimpy black swimsuits and shot by famed photographer Walter Iooss Jr in Florida.

The magazine would not say whether she would be returning for a spread this year, but did keep people guessing with a post on their website.

"We can neither confirm nor deny these rumors, but isn't the idea of Ronda donning nothing but paint enough to tie you over until the issue comes out in February?," the article read.

Rousey has remained largely out of the public eye since her shocking loss to Holly Holm for the UFC women's bantamweight title.

"A body-painted spread in SI Swimsuit would truly be a comeback for the ages".

#tbt @si_swimsuit #MultipassSuit Shot by the amazing @walteriooss

A post shared by rondarousey (@rondarousey) on


If the swimsuit rumours are true, Rousey will be back in the spotlight well and truly, with a recent announcement that she will also be hosting Saturday Night Live later this month.

- nzherald.co.nz