In a week that has seen Cat Zingano confirm her return from injury, Holly Holm sign with the UFC and Cris Cyborg confirm her 135lbs debut, another major story surrounding the women’s bantamweight division could develop as early as next week. According to UFC president Dana White, the promotion are close to agreeing terms with Gina Carano after a lengthy negotiation period.
Like with Holly Holm – who finally signed with the UFC on a multi-fight deal this week – it is no secret that the UFC have held talks with Gina Carano about a possible agreement which would bolster the women’s bantamweight division. However, unlike Holm, Carano has been inactive for almost five years and hasn’t fought at 135lbs in over 8 years.
Due to her big name and Hollywood success, Gina Carano could – unlike Holm – make her UFC debut against champion Ronda Rousey in an immediate title shot. This is something which the UFC rarely grant for a fighter, no matter how famous they are, as shown with the UFC’s dealings with Brock Lesnar – who faced Frank Mir in his debut at UFC 81.
Unlike Brock, Carano has a lot of experience in mixed martial arts coming into her imminent UFC debut. The former Strikeforce and Elite XC star has a record of 7-1, with her sole loss coming against Cris Cyborg in his last MMA fight back in August 2009. That fight marked the first time two women headlined a major MMA card and, like current champion Ronda Rousey, Carano was once seen as the face of women’s MMA competition.
Still just 32 years of age, there is still room for development for ‘Conviction’, and recent interviews suggest she is itching to get back in the cage. From a fan’s perspective, I would not like to see Gina Carano return to face Ronda Rousey straight away, but rather – like with Cat Zingano – face a tune-up fight to see where she stands in the division.
On top of her long lay-off, Carano hasn’t fought at 135lbs since 2006 and it would be good for all parties involved to see Carano return against a mid-tier opponent. If Gina impresses in her UFC debut, give her Rousey. If not, then there are some excuses and Carano will remain a marketable and eye-catching asset to the women’s bantamweight division.
On the topic of Carano, Dana White had this to say whilst speaking with ESPN.
“One down, one to go [referring to Holm and Carano]. I’m going to meet with Gina next week and get that f–king thing done. Next week, man. It’s just a matter of me and Lorenzo going to jump on a plane to Los Angeles, get in a room with her and her lawyer and get this thing done.”
In this interview, Dana seemed more confident about proceedings than in the past. After a long negotiation period full of ups-and-downs, White could have his second big target in a matter of days. And if he does, the interest in the women’s bantamweight division will skyrocket.
Who would you like to see Gina Carano face in her UFC debut? Does she deserve an immediate title shot? Comment in the box below, or send a tweet to @cagepagesfs.