It's been more than three years since Gina Carano last stepped foot in an MMA cage, but still a day rarely goes by in women's mixed martial arts without her name being uttered.
For years, Carano was the face of women's mixed martial arts, combining her devastating skills inside the cage with an undeniable appeal outside of it, and literally became one of the most well known names in the entire sport.
While Carano has always had fighting in her blood, she couldn't deny the call she got from Hollywood that wanted to put her in movies instead of in the cage. From her role in the action film Haywire, to her upcoming feature as a member of the cast of the Fast and the Furious 6, Carano has been keeping plenty busy with jobs that have little to do with MMA.
That's not to say she still doesn't follow the sport, as indicated by her Twitter message directed at UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, her opponent Liz Carmouche and UFC President Dana White on Saturday before the start of UFC 157.
Carano's shadow looms large over women's MMA, and her iconic part in bringing the sport to where it is will never be forgotten; but unless something dramatic changes, her fighting days are likely behind her. Still, Carano refuses to completely shut that door, always hinting in interviews that maybe one day she could return to MMA.
"Gina's a movie star. Gina's out making movies. I actually liked that she made it and she went on to do movies and other things, I like that. I like to see that happen," said Dana White when speaking to reporters after UFC 157 ended about the former Strikeforce fighter.
Carano has already signed on to play the lead in a script being developed as an all-female version of the popular action series The Expendables, which will likely begin filming later this year. She's also recently been attached to Henry Cavill, the actor who plays Superman in the new Man of Steel film being released later this year.
While her return to fighting is highly unlikely, White would happily have Carano in the UFC despite the fact that she doesn't compete at 135 pounds (the only weight class they currently have for women in the UFC).
"If Gina came back and said she wanted to fight again, we'd take her back," said White. "I'm not going to pursue her, I'm happy for her. She hasn't told me, but I've heard that she's said she would be interested in coming back, but I'm not going to push her. But if she wants to come back, I wouldn't say no either."
In all likelihood, Carano will continue to be a supporter of the fighters still competing in MMA while she pursues her new life as a successful actress in Hollywood.
Carano will next be seen in a feature film titled, In the Blood, before hitting the big time with her role in the new Fast and the Furious 6 movie debuting on Memorial Day.
Damon Martin is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.
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