A few months after being released by the UFC, former UFC women’s bantamweight title challenger Cat Zingano has signed a multifight deal with Bellator.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani revealed the signing on Tuesday, noting that Zingano is expected to compete in Bellator’s featherweight division. Her debut date and opponent are not yet finalized. Her signing with Bellator was heavily rumored ever since her UFC release.
Zingano issued a statement on the signing to ESPN soon after Bellator announced it. Here’s what she said.
“They asked me what would make me happy and motivated. I told them, then they came back with an even bigger number,” Zingano told ESPN. “Initially, can’t lie, I was struggling with making a decision only because my mind was fatigued, and I had a few things complete physically. I’m happy with how it came together. I can still accomplish the few things I had yet to accomplish in the UFC, just a different platform. I get to set brand new goals and do it on a whole new fresh blank slate. I get to start over, I get to reinvent, I get to go back to my roots if I want, too. I get to get excited and nervous for the new possibilities, and that makes my heart happy! These extra ten pounds will be just about as lovely as the fact I now get sponsors.
“I’m grateful for where I’ve come from and definitely look forward to where I’m going. I want to grow and create an even stronger Bellator. I’m committed to it. A motivated Cat is a dangerous Cat.”
— Alpha Cat Zingano (@CatZingano) October 29, 2019
“Oh helloooo @bellatormma ladies, shall we dine or dance? #Bellator #mma #catzingano #featherweight #yearofthealphacat #meow”
Zingano was surprisingly released by the UFC in August. The 37-year-old “Alpha” has a 10-4 overall record in MMA, including a 3-4 overall record in the UFC. She holds notable victories over current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate. She challenged former champ Ronda Ronda for the belt in February 2015, losing by first-round submission.
Zingano immediately becomes one of the top contenders for the Bellator women’s featherweight championship, currently held by Julia Budd, who takes on Cris Cyborg in January 2020. Zingano likely needs to get one win in Bellator before getting a title shot.
Are you excited to see Cat Zingano fight for Bellator?