EXCLUSIVE (Part 2) | Cat Zingano Talks Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey, TUF & More
“I sit here and I think too, you know, I want Ronda to win, I think Ronda is going to win, but there is a little part of me that kind of feels like Miesha might want this more,” injured UFC women’s bantamweight contender Cat Zingano said of division champion Ronda Rousey and her next opponent, Miesha Tate.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
UFC women’s bantamweight fighter Cat Zingano was set to be the second woman to challenge for the UFC title after she defeated Miesha Tate at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale back in April. Following that fight, however, Zingano tore her ACL, and she has been sidelined to undergo surgery and rehabilitation. This past weekend, she spoke with BJPenn.com to discuss the UFC women’s division, and most importantly, the upcoming title fight of which she was originally set to be a part.
First and foremost, Zingano weighed in on wanting to be the first person to defeat current UFC champion Ronda Rousey. Both Zingano and Rousey have fought to undefeated records; and while Rousey may have an impressive seven professional wins by first-round armbar, Zingano holds three submission and four T/KO victories in her eight professional wins.
“The way I look at it, I started this sport – there are a lot of sacrifices that go into it. I have a kid, I have all these other things I do in my life; and if I’m going to sacrifice all this time – blood, sweat and tears, not getting to eat what I want, not getting to socialize the way I want – I better be the best at this. I don’t do anything else. I live my life to be the best at what I apply myself to. Right now that’s MMA. Ronda is the world champion, and she’s where she’s at, we’re both undefeated – I think I have one more win on my record than she does – and we’re both finishers. Stylistically I want to see how that turns out.
“It’s not even necessarily I want Ronda, I want to be the tattooed name on who beat Ronda Rousey; it’s about, we are both undefeated, we are both very talented, we both have the same kind of work ethic, alright, today, who’s the better fighter? I really want to go apply myself to that whole theory that I have and go out there and, yeah, I guess know that I beat somebody that works as hard as me, I beat somebody that cares as much as me, and that this is something that both of us were born to do, but for some reason I’m better. It means a lot to me to be world champion. It means a lot to me to be the best at this. I’ve done a lot of sports, I’ve done a lot of things, and I’ve come up second or third or fourth, or I quit before I really get to my peak because of circumstances. With MMA there’s nothing in my way, there’s nothing stopping me. The only reason I should go out there and lose to one of these girls is because of me. And yes they are – I’m not taking anything away from their talent, their technique and their heart – but I know what I have and I know what I bring, and on any given night if I show up right with the heart and the intensity that I know I have, I’m unstoppable, and I truly believe that.”
Of course, with Rousey set to fight Miesha Tate, there is always the possibility that Tate becomes the first to beat the champion. Zingano said she’s fine with that as well.
“Well I want to fight both of them either way, you know. Should Miesha win, I’m excited for that fight because I would have wanted her again anyway. Hopefully if Miesha wins, I would get a shot at Ronda at some point too, whether it be the next fight or a couple fights down the road, or whatever. I want to fight all the girls at 135. I want to climb this hierarchy of fighters and see where we all fit into place. Obviously I want Ronda to win because I haven’t fought her yet, and I’m ready to move on to another fighter. And she is the champion, she is the first one who got that belt, and I really wanted to be the first one to take that belt, but that’s not what happens [sometimes].
“To answer your question, it’s odd because I hear from so many people, and I don’t know where people get their logistics as far as their picks for this fight, but I have a lot of people that are just saying intuitively that they feel that Miesha is going to win, like, ‘I don’t know what it is, but I just think Miesha’s going to win, I just think like Miesha’s going to beat Ronda.’ I sit here and I think too, you know, I want Ronda to win, I think Ronda is going to win, but there is a little part of me that kind of feels like Miesha might want this more. She got handed this opportunity, she got handed this show off of a loss, that’s all these things that fell into her lap, I feel like she’s going to capitalize on all of them as much as she can. Hopefully that means she’s having a hardcore training camp. Hopefully that means she’s focusing on everything she needs to in order to go out there and put on her best fight and put her best face forward. From what I hear, Ronda’s making movies right now. I can’t imagine that’s going to be very constructive during a training camp, but I don’t know. Maybe she’s multi-dimensional like that. Personally, I need to simplify my life when I’m in a training camp, so I’m not her, I don’t know. It could actually fuel her.”
As far as the training is concerned, Zingano didn’t want to speculate on how the extra-curricular activities of Rousey could affect her training, but she did concede that filming movies on the side would be too much for her.
“Yeah, I don’t know. Ronda’s very confident in her armbars. It’s a good thing for her, so maybe she just is confident enough that she knows she’s going to get it and she doesn’t need to do all this extra stuff, so she can do all these movies. I know when I’m not training I need to be laying flat. I need to be horizontal with people giving me food and letting me nap and waiting until my next workout, and then my next workout and then I sleep, you know. It’s a strategy, it’s a completely calculated life for that 8-10 weeks before a fight. I just don’t know I’ve never really been in that position.”
Leading up to Rousey and Tate’s fight at UFC 168 has been the most recent season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ the UFC’s reality television show. This season has featured a number of firsts for the UFC: both coaches are women, and both teams feature male and female fighters. Zingano, who would have coached on the show opposite Rousey, thought the performances from the female fighters have been excellent for women’s MMA in general.
“I think so,” Zingano said. “You know, I think the fights are coming out pretty well. There’s a little bit of cattiness between some of the girls, which could either really attract people or it could turn them away from the sport. You know, women are going to be looked at in this differently than men regardless. You look at comments of a men’s fight, and you see like, ‘Oh that was good, he should have done that armbar, I don’t know why he stood up with that guy,’ and yada, yada, yada. You [have] a girl on there, and they’re like, ‘Oh my god, did you see her ass? Look at her face, she’s not pretty, how ‘bout them arms, she looks like a dude.’ You know what I mean? It’s such a different commentary for the men and the women.
“But I don’t think anyone can deny that the women are putting on a hell of a show. You know, some of these fights – the girls that they brought on are all really talented. I fought one of them myself, Racquel Pennington, and she went out there and had I think the best fight of the show so far, winning against Jessamyn Duke. I was impressed, I didn’t know she had all of that in her. I was kind of like, ‘Where the hell was that when we fought?’ But those were all good fights, and all the girls seemed very appreciative and rather classy; and I feel like the ones that aren’t being classy, they’re kind of getting shut out, I don’t know if it’s karma or if they’re jinxing themselves or what. But [overall] they’re doing good. I’m excited to see the division grow based off of what everyone gets to see off of this show.”
Before she looks at the any of the other female competitors as potential fights, however, Zingano is focused 100% on recovering from her knee injuries. She is currently receiving Platelet-Rich-Plasma injections in her knee once a month in a process that will hopefully have her back in the cage and fighting as soon as March or April.
Be sure to catch the other parts of Cat Zingano’s interview with BJPenn.com Radio. She talks potential title contender Alexis Davis and even weighs in on fighting Cain Velasquez! And if you missed Cat Zingano’s appearance on BJPenn.com Radio last week, or if you want to hear the entire episode, be sure to check it out here or listen below: