Ever since Gina Carano expressed interest in returning to the Octagon after almost six years of absence, the news has generated a tremendous amount of buzz. Her announcement has sparked rumors regarding whom the mixed martial arts fighter-turned-action star would face upon her arrival to the UFC.
There are those who believe, including UFC president Dana White, that Carano should receive an immediate title shot and face the current bantamweight champion. However, the former Strikeforce bantamweight champion, Miesha Tate, feels that she would be best suited to welcome the former “face of women’s mixed martial arts” to the Octagon.
In a recent interview with Chael Sonnen and Kenny Florian on UFC Tonight, when asked whom she would like to fight next in the Octagon, Tate immediately named Carano as a possible opponent. She stated (full video below):
I would love a fight with Gina Carano. Honestly, you know, she’s gonna make her comeback to MMA after five and a half years, and I don’t think it makes sense to go straight for the title. So, I think I’d be a great matchup for her to come back on.
A Carano/Tate matchup would be nothing less than stellar. Although Tate has only yielded a 1-2 record since her UFC debut, she is still the division’s No. 3 contender. In addition, "Cupcake's" feud with the current bantamweight champion is a major reason that women’s mixed martial arts exists in the UFC today, giving further credibility to the Washington native's comments regarding a possible matchup with Carano. In fact, there is reason to believe Tate would actually beat Carano if a matchup was to occur.
“Cupcake” holds a major advantage over Carano with her deep grappling background. The 2008 second-place no-gi FILA grappling world champion’s strength lies in her ability to out-grapple many of her opponents. Almost half of Tate’s victories have come by submission, with her most notable tapout victory over former Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen.
Previous to Carano’s extended absence from mixed martial arts, her ground game was highly suspect. That, plus nearly six years of ring rust could leave Carano defeated in her first UFC appearance—facts that Tate is willing to exploit.
Conversely, Carano has grounds in Muay Thai, and has established a successful career off her stand-up game. A win over Tate would speak volumes and put her on the map with respect to the female’s 135-pound division. It could possibly even grant her a title shot against the undefeated MMA phenom and former Olympian Ronda Rousey.