Undefeated female bantamweight Cat Zingano earned a shot at the UFC women’s 135-pound title by defeating Miesha Tate, but an injury and personal tragedy has sidelined the 32-year-old for the past seventeen months.
The win over Tate in April 2013 didn’t just earn Zingano a title fight. She was originally slated to coach The Ultimate Fighter opposite Ronda Rousey during the nineteenth season of the reality series. Her untimely knee injury robbed her of a title shot and excluded her from the promotional value of coaching TUF.
Zingano returns to action at UFC 178 against Amanda Nunes on Sept. 27 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Rousey favors Zingano in the match-up, but says you can’t count Nunes out.
“Amanda is a very, very tough chick. I think her knockout against Julia Budd was like one of the most devastating knockouts I had ever seen in women’s MMA. But Cat is a very seasoned striker, so I don’t know. It’s a very, very good fight,” said the women’s bantamweight champ.
“I would say that I would probably lean towards Cat,” added Rousey. “I think she would probably be favored in the fight, but I would never count Amanda Nunes out.”
A win over Nunes could return Zingano to her top contender status in the women’s 135-pound division and land her in a title fight against Rousey in early 2015.