For Cat Zingano, the time is now to create a feel-good story. The 32-year-old undefeated (9-0) MMA fighter gets the chance of a lifetime and redemption on Saturday. She will take on the undefeated Ronda Rousey (10-0) in the main event of UFC 184. A win would be a culmination of a whirlwind 22 months for her.
Zingano is the next competitor to try and take the women’s bantamweight title from the seemingly unstoppable champion. The bout highlights a card that will feature the women’s divisions as the main and co-main events. It is the first time in the history of the sport where the top two PPV bouts will feature women competitors.
In addition to the Cat Zingano / Ronda Rousey fight, fans get to see the UFC debut of Holly Holm. Holm (7-0) will square off against Raquel Pennington (5-5).
Rousey has been a major draw in the UFC since her debut match, a title bout versus Liz Carmouche. She is far and away the face of the women fighters in the company. Her challenger is aiming to take over that number one spot.
The timing is perfect for Cat Zingano to make a great impression. Her traditional fighting style is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Zingano fights with a lot of heart and aggression. In a sense, she is tailor made for Rousey, whose strategy is to use her brawling skills to set her lethal armbar submission maneuver.
On the flip-side, Zingano’s boxing abilities can keep the champion honest. One of the advantages working in Zingano’s favor is the fact that she has Ronda Rousey’s respect. She briefly divulges on it in an article by the Edmonton Sun.
“I’m different. I know that, she knows that, the whole promotion knows that. I have things to offer she hasn’t seen before and I just have to be me, I just have to do me.”
To prove that she is different, Zingano is going to have to get her opponent’s respect inside of the octagon. Timely strikes can do just that.
Getting to this stage in her life is a considerable triumph.
Zingano was scheduled to face Rousey last year, but injuries and tragedy struck her, derailing her hopes of becoming the champion. The Denver Post went in detail about her knee surgery and the sad suicide death of her husband and trainer, Mauricio Zingano. The death of her husband came just a month after the biggest win of her career, a TKO victory over Miesha Tate.
The victory put her in line for a shot at Rousey. Things were falling into place for her. Everything came to a halt around that time. Zingano, already facing ACL surgery just prior to taping The Ultimate Fighter in 2013, had to face her young son to tell him that his father was dead.
“I had to wake him up. I feel like every catastrophe in our lives you remember exactly where you were, what you were doing, who you were with, almost down to what you were wearing. I get one shot at this. That, was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
Facing Ronda Rousey is a minor challenge for Zingano. She has had to overcome a tumultuous 22 months and it all comes somewhat full circle on Saturday.
Cat Zingano knows success. She knows pain. She will look to unleash her pain on the champion at UFC. Timing could not be better for Cat Zingano to create a feel-good story.