Cat Zingano was in line for a coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter and then a shot at UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Those plans were all derailed when she suffered a knee injury that has kept her sidelined for the better part of the past year.
Zingano hasn’t fought since defeating Miesha Tate last April, but she’s nearing the completion of her rehab and is more than ready to step right back into the title picture.
“When the time comes, I’m going to be ready. I feel strong. I’m definitely gonna come out ready to fight,” Zingano said on Friday night’s edition of Inside MMA on AXS TV. (Watch Cat Zingano’s interview here.)
She is slated to visit her doctor again on Monday, and if all goes according to plan, Zingano will gain the medical clearance that she needs to return to a full slate of training.
“I know Ronda had said something about fighting in the end of the summer and that sounds pretty good to me too,” Zingano said, indicating that she should be ready for a fight by mid-to-late summer, fitting snugly into Rousey’s self-proposed timeline.
The UFC has not made any announcement about Zingano or Rousey, but after having fought twice in two months, Rousey is hoping that her next bout isn’t until sometime this summer. The list of contenders for her belt isn’t long, and UFC president Dana White has steadfastly stood behind Zingano, insisting that her title shot hasn’t melted away.
Timing is always a key to matchmaking, and Zingano says she has not been guaranteed anything, but should she gain clearance on Monday, the timing would seem to align for a Rousey defense against Zingano this summer.
“Really no guarantees, [but] I got some promises. I got some things where [White] is telling me I’m next in line, don’t worry, just heal up and get better,” she said.
Zingano has also had to deal with the recent death of her husband. Although the couple was separated at the time, it has been a trying ordeal, but all signs point to Zingano gearing up for a return to the Octagon.
“Mid-to-late summer, something like that sounds really good to me.”