It’s rare to find a fighter who is honest enough to admit when they are afraid heading into a fight, but then again, Cat Zingano (formerly Cat Albert) isn’t your everyday fighter.
Heading into her bout earlier this month against highly regarded veteran female fighter Carina Damm, Zingano at first was apprehensive facing such an opponent, but quickly overcame her issues and pulled off the biggest victory of her young career.
“I went into the fight very, very focused, and honestly, a little timid. I didn’t know what to expect from Carina,” Zingano told MMAWeekly.com. “I have a lot of respect for her and so I really stuck to my game plan and didn’t let anything that went down in the fight let me get off track.
“It ended up a lot more on the ground than what I expected – with both of us being ground fighters, I thought it would be a slugfest to stay off the ground – but that’s not how it turned out, and either way it was a great fight.”
After getting Damm to the ground multiple times in the first round, but not able to do much damage, Zingano came out like a house on fire in the second round, dropping Damm early before finally finishing her off midway through the round.
“(Between rounds) my coach said I was doing good and to keep doing what I was doing, and I was kind of shocked,” admitted Zingano. “I guess how respectful of her I was of how good of a fighter she is, I really didn’t expect to be up that much by the first round.
“I don’t like wasting time in fights. I just wanted to get it going and had the fierce aggression going on. So when she gave up the mount, gave up the pass (in the second round), that’s when I felt I was able to capitalize on my ground and pound. It was (an exercise in) constantly staying calm, waiting to strike on any kind of opening that she gave me in order for me to get vicious.”
With the win, Zingano placed herself among the top female fighters at 125 pounds.
After a year in which she won all three of her fights and raised her record to 5-0, Zingano plans to stay active and continue to broaden her horizons in 2011.
“I am actually looking at (participating at) Fight to Win, I think at the end of February. Whether that works out or not, I’m looking to take a fight next year in Brazil maybe in March or somewhere like Singapore or Japan later in the year,” stated Zingano.
“I’m going to make it a busy year. I’m really motivated, I have a lot of forward momentum, and I’m having a lot of fun, and that turns into a cocktail for what I need to do my best, so hopefully it’s going to be a really good year.”
Having risen to the occasion and secured the biggest win of her career to date, it appears the sky’s the limit for Zingano in the coming years.
“Keep your eyes out. I hope to have a really good year. I’m really grateful for my fans and all their support,” she said in closing. “I work really hard, and I’m happy that people can identify with that. I want to thank all my sponsors, Zingano Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai of Colorado.”