It was inevitable. No longer looming like an unfulfilled obligation, fans of women's MMA will get exactly what they have been yearning for. Earlier this weekend, Strikeforce confirmed that on August 15th, the undefeated Gina Carano will step into the cage with Cristiane Cyborg.
The two fighters have seemingly been on a collision coarse since they both signed with Elite XC last year. However, the coarse has had a number of stumbling blocks. Thus what many presume to be the biggest fight in women's MMA history had been delayed. Consequently, the stiffest test yet for the ordained face of women's MMA will be after she's endured about a ten month layoff.
Carano has said since February, that Cyborg was the only fighter on her mind. Nevertheless, I wonder if Carano signed her name on the dotted lines with conviction.
The most accurate word I can use to describe her opponent (besides a beast) is relentless. Cyborg should be sponsored by Energizer, as her fists keep going and going. Sometimes wild, always tenacious, the heavy hitting Cyborg never stops being aggressive. In her last six fights, in which she is 6-0, five have ended with a technical knock out.
Some say that Carano has a technical advantage. I argue that technically, precision won't do much to stop the type of pressure that Cyborg consistently applies. Translation, straight punches do nothing to slow down a freight train.
But people have been waiting for Carano's pretty face and reputation to get run over since she's been in the spotlight. Whether she's been given less than a month to train, like her fight against Kaitlin Young, or has had to strip naked simply to make weight, against Kelly Kobald, the woman knows what to do once the opening bell rings.
As relentless as Cyborg has proven to be in her fights, Carano has exuded a level of grace that words are incapable of capturing. In interviews, she never sounds cocky, but she does have a certain swagger once she enters the ring. And as people claim that she has been protected, her performances have been more dominant than most would have ever projected. So from her perspective, why would she not be ready to fight Cyborg.
To be the best, you have to beat the best. The problem in the world of women's MMA is we're still unsure who the best is. The women's fight game is still in the process of earning the respect that the men have. Nevertheless the Catch 22 is that in order to earn this respect, women need a platform to showcase their ability.
Two year's ago Gina Carano fought Julie Kedzie on Showtime and did just that, as their beautiful display of female MMA helped put the sport on the map. Two months from now Carano and Cyborg have a chance to propel it to an even higher level.
But it's the space in between, the space so often overlooked when it comes to sports, that will tell the tale of the story.
The preparation and dedication shown by both fighters.
Those two words are the foundation on which sports grow. They are found within the mentality of an athlete's mind. Undoubtedly, both Cyborg and Carano have heart, as they both have accepted the challenge of fighting one another, something not always guaranteed when it comes to top fighters. Yet it's everything else that has the potential of weighing the magnitude of this fight down, lowering the scale of female MMA. It will not come down to necessarily their body of work, but literally to their physique. How fit and ready will these two fighters be to make history?
I've heard Carano many times say that she doesn't necessarily want to be the only face in MMA. Nevertheless from now until August 15th we will find out about the woman behind the obscure label.