Though Ronda Rousey is widely credited with putting women’s MMA on the map, Gina Carano was the first real female star the sport ever produced. The Muay Thai specialist realized her stardom – which admittedly paled in comparison to the eventual megastardom of Ronda Rousey – in the cage of the long defunct Strikeforce organization.
Carano’s status as a superstar fighter, however, took a substantial hit when she experienced her first pro loss in 2009, when she was mauled by ferocious Brazilian striker Cris “Cyborg” Justino. After this crushing defeat, the WMMA trailblazer would never step foot in the cage again, opting instead to focus on a successful acting career.
Rousey’s career, of course, has followed a similar trajectory over the last few years. After being pulled toward the glitz and glamor of a Hollywood acting career, she was turned off by a Holly Holm head kick in 2015, and for awhile, it looked as though she’d follow in Carano’s footsteps and never return to the cage. Ultimately, of course, she did return to the cage, as she took on reigning bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes in the main event of December’s UFC 207. Regrettably for the star fighter and her legions of fans, this fight went even worse than her bout with Holm did, as she was savaged by Nunes in a mere 48 seconds.
Today, it is unclear whether Rousey will ever fight again. According to Carano, who has endured similar lows over the course of a very similar career, that should be up to her. The WMMA pioneer gave a quick bit of advice to Rousey during an interview with Fight Hub TV at Saturday’s Bellator 170 event. Her words:
“I think Ronda should do what ever she wants to do. She’s only 29. She’s an amazing athlete, but she needs to express herself as an artist too. So let her do what she wants to do, and just follow along in her journey and support her.”
What do you think of Gina Carano’s comments on Ronda Rousey? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/23/2017.