Gina Carano is coming back to Strikeforce to compete in their women’s division after more than a year away from the sport.
The Las Vegas based fighter was in attendance for the Strikeforce show on Saturday night in New Jersey, where she announced her intentions to return to MMA in 2011.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has long talked about Carano returning to the sport, and believed that despite her new found acting career she would come back to fighting.
“I believe in her heart just like these other athletes that go into the movies, even though they have success in the film industry such as Quinton Jackson or Cung Le, like he’s doing right now, and Gina, I saw parts of her movie and it was fantastic, but equal time, you’re still a fighter at heart. I know they want to compete,” Coker told MMAWeekly Radio recently about Carano.
When prompted about her return, Carano said it all came down to a personal challenge.
“I think I just need to settle the score with myself really. I just need to get back in there for me,” she said.
While no definitive timetable has been determined for her return to the cage, Carano has been back in training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Her film “Haywire” opens this summer.
Coker, at Saturday’s post-fight press conference, indicated that the promotion is targeting June for Carano’s return, but hasn’t locked down a date yet.
The women’s division has expanded in the time since Carano’s exit, but Cris “Cyborg” Santos, the fighter who handed Carano her only career loss, still reigns atop the 145-pound division as champion.
Carano has widely been considered one of the most popular fighter on the Strikeforce roster, and her return will only bolster the promotion’s ratings on future Showtime broadcasts.
(Updated Feb. 13 at 12:30 a.m. PT to include June as a target date for Carano’s return.)