UFC president Dana White recently met with the former face of women’s mixed martial arts, Gina Carano, in an attempt to negotiate her contract so that she may fight in the UFC’s Octagon for the first time. Talks are still underway.
White told MMA Weekly (h/t Yahoo Sports) that if a deal was made, Carano would most likely face the current face of women’s MMA, undefeated UFC bantamweight champion and Olympic judo medalist Ronda Rousey.
Regarding an immediate title shot, White stated, "I think so. It'll probably be early December. ... Gina is important. I think it is a big fight. It’s a fight that Ronda Rousey wants, and Ronda’s been very good to us. If that’s what she wants, then I’m gonna try and get it done."
Irrespective of Rousey’s desires, Carano hasn’t fought professionally in almost five years. In addition, her one-dimensional fighting style and lack of quality opponents hindered the fighter-turned-movie star’s growth, which makes it much more unreasonable for her to face, much less defeat, Rousey.
Ronda Rousey and the Prey
Carano boasts an MMA record of 7-1. The Texas native last fought in August 2009. She lost to Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino at Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg in her quest to secure the featherweight championship.
Following her loss, Carano embarked on a successful movie career, which saw her star in movies such as Haywire and Fast & Furious 6. However, earlier this year, the 32-year-old appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show and expressed her motives for returning to the fight game.
I love it (fighting). It’s something I can do that makes everything else disappear, and I dream about it. I just didn’t know if I was ever going to, you know, get placed with the opportunity to make a comeback. So, I’m either going to do it now, or I’m gonna retire and just say, ‘Ok, I’m never gonna do it.' So, like now is the moment, I feel.
Carano left the combative sport at the height of her MMA career. Within the last five years, however, women’s MMA has grown exponentially. The UFC implemented a 135-pound women’s division in 2012. Currently, there are 29 women on the brand’s roster. The list includes former professional boxers, kickboxers and Olympic medalists.
Carano may wish to return from an almost five-year layoff, but the playing field that is women’s MMA has evolved beyond measure within that time. Even in her prime, the former face of women’s MMA was greatly one-dimensional, relying mainly on her size, strength and muay thai skills to dominate her opponents.
In fact, Carano felt so uncomfortable with her ground game that during her matchup against Cyborg, she inexplicably stood up from a highly advantageous, full mount position. She was eventually beaten on her feet and suffered a technical knockout with one second remaining in the first round.
Ultimately, though, Carano last raised her hand in MMA victory almost six years ago. Her quality of opponents lagged, but that was the best that women’s MMA had to offer at the time.
For instance, perhaps the two most-known opponents Carano fought (besides Cyborg) are Kaitlin Young and Julie Kedzie. However, they sport records of 7-8 and 16-13, respectively. Young has lost her last three fights and Kedzie her last four. The latter fighter retired following her most recent loss.
In contrast, two of Rousey’s last three opponents consisted of an Olympic wrestling medalist and someone who took the champion out of the first round for the first time in her career.
Despite the tremendous accolades of her 135-pound counterparts, Rousey has made a mockery out of the women’s division. The former Olympian has finished all of her opponents, including five of the top 10 women in her division.
Given her greatly extensive layoff, plus her heavy stand-up game and lack of quality opponents in her prime, Carano’s chances of defeating Rousey appear grim at best.
It’s All About the Benjamins…
Realistically, after such a long period of inactivity, it would behoove Carano to accept a fight or two before tackling the phenom that is Rousey. However, a loss to any contender other than the champion would drop Carano’s stock, and interest in a matchup between her and Rousey would fade.
At the end of the day, the UFC is a business. Therefore, irrespective of how questionably deserving Carano is of an immediate title shot, monetarily speaking, a bout between her and Rousey is logically sound. Undoubtedly, a matchup between the former and current face of women’s MMA will draw record numbers.
However, regardless of the massive amount of money that this fight brings in, it doesn’t negate the circus fight that is Rousey vs. Carano.
Gina Carano Plans Her Return to the Octagon