Cat Zingano eyes summer return for fight with UFC champ Ronda Rousey
While there has been nothing set in stone yet for the next defense of the UFCâ€™s womenâ€™s bantamweight title, the woman next in line for a shot atÂ Ronda Rousey at least is on board with the champâ€™s time table.
Cat ZinganoÂ (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) this past Friday told AXS TVâ€™s â€œInsider MMAâ€ that if Rousey (8-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is down with a summer fight, she would be, too.
â€œWhen the time comes, Iâ€™m going to be ready â€“Â absolutely,â€ Zingano told the show. â€œI feel strong, and Iâ€™m definitely going to come out ready to fight. I know Ronda had said something about maybe fighting in the end of the summer, and that sounds pretty good to me, too. … Mid- to late summer, something like that sounds real good to me.â€
Zingano earned her title shot this past April when she beat Miesha Tate in a title elimination bout. Not only would the winner get a shot at Rousey, but she would coach opposite her on Season 18 of â€œThe Ultimate Fighter.â€
Zingano won that bout with a â€œFight of the Nightâ€-winning third-round TKO. But six weeks later, Zingano was ruled out with a knee injury that required surgery. Tate replaced her on â€œTUF 18,â€ then lost to Rousey in a rematch at UFC 168.
But Zingano remained in line while waiting to heal. In the meantime, Rousey fought again this past month and beat Sara McMann with a first-round TKO.
Rousey took a vacation, then will shoot the movie version of the HBO series â€œEntourage,â€ in which she is believed to have a major role.
UFC President Dana White has indicated he hasnâ€™t been given a precise timeline for Zinganoâ€™s return. But the unbeaten fighter also in January had to cope with the death of her husband, jiu-jitsu instructor Mauricio Zingano, who was found dead of an apparent suicide.
But right now, itâ€™s just getting the timing right from the knee surgery that appears to be keeping Zingano from getting ready for a full return.
â€œ(After I go to the doctor, Iâ€™ll be) good to spar, good to condition, ready to fight at my top,â€ she said.
And at this point, she said sheâ€™s looking at the big picture and is just interested in getting back to work after a layoff that will stretch for more than a year by the time sheâ€™s ready.
Along with a title fight with Rousey, she said sheâ€™d also be interested in a bout against the likes of former Strikeforce champion Cristiano â€œCyborgâ€ Justino, who has said she will begin the trip down from featherweight to bantamweight later this year with the hope of getting to the UFC and a earning a title shot.
â€œThe thing is, Iâ€™m here to fight,â€ Zingano said. â€œObviously I want to beat the best, and I want to beat everybody. But when it comes down to it, I want to fight â€˜Cyborg.â€™ I want to fight everyone there is in that weight division. Itâ€™s about the fight. Itâ€™s not about who â€“ itâ€™s about getting out there and doing what I love. I think a fight between me and â€˜Cyborgâ€™ would be fun. I think a fight between me and Ronda would be fun.â€
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.