She was the first poster girl for women’s MMA—Gina Carano embodied what people wanted in a female fighter, she was the sexy girl next door outside of the cage, but when the door closed she could take your head off.
Carano began her career in combat sports competing in Muay-Thai achieving an impressive 12-1-1 record.
Following her final Muay-Thai bout she got the offer to compete in the first ever sanctioned female MMA bout in Nevada and the rest is history.
Carano strung together seven victories against caliber opponents in Kelly Kobald and Rosi Sexton which made her the face of the EliteXC organization and women’s MMA in general.
When EliteXC folded, Carano moved over to face Brazilian striker Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos to determine the first women’s middleweight champion in August of 2009.
The bout proved to be narrowly one sided with Santos getting the better of Carano in most of the striking exchanges before the referee mercifully called a stop to the action with one second remaining on the clock in the opening round.
This proved to be Strikeforce’s best rating on Showtime averaging 576,000 viewers while peaking during the main event with 856,000 viewers.
Since then, Carano has yet to step foot inside a cage to compete and has not indicated that she would like to return.
Then this Monday, Strikeforce founder and CEO Scott Coker spoke with MMAfighting.com’s Ariel Helwani about the issue of the former poster girl.
"I believe she'll be back in the cage this year," Coker said. "From what I know of her, she is a competitor at heart; she's going to want to fight. She's not going to want to end her career the way it ended. So, I think she'll be back."
There’s no doubt that Scott Coker and the Strikeforce officials would like to see the return of Carano because the numbers don’t lie, people will tune in to see Carano fight.