Top ranked UFC women’s bantamweight contender Cat Zingano lost her opportunity to coach opposite champion Ronda Rousey on the current season of The Ultimate Fighter due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee.
Her spot on the series instead went to Miesha Tate, whom Zingano defeated in her last trip to the Octagon.
Now, several months later, Zingano’s right knee is healing well, but she’s dealing with an injured meniscus in her left knee due to overcompensation during her rehabilitation. Zingano has a strong distaste for the crutches she was supposed to be utilizing while her right knee healed, and it cost her some damage to her left knee.
Zingano recently had a stem-cell procedure done on her left knee to help speed recovery without the invasive nature of traditional surgery.
“My physical therapy is going super well,” she told MMAWeekly.com on Monday. “Everything is right on track. About a month ago, I had some stem cell injections. They took fat out of my body and they spun it and they shot it back into my knees and I feel really, really good.”
The procedure, known as Regenerative Injection Therapy, uses Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections with stem cells utilized from the patient’s fat stores. Zingano is being treated by Dr. Fady Elias, Medical Director of Sports Medicine, at Ortho Regenerative Institute in Cosa Mesa, Calif.
“I’m going in next week to get some more PRP injections,” Zingano added. “This is all supposed to help rebuild the cartilage and regenerate tissue to help my knees.
“So I’m really looking forward to the comeback. I think me knees are going to be stronger than they’ve been in years.”
When she does make her comeback, which Zingano confirmed is still on track for early 2014, she is expected to get the title shot that would have followed her stint on The Ultimate Fighter if not for the knee injury. Having already defeated Tate once, Zingano is hoping that it is Rousey that she’ll be facing upon her return.
“I fought Miesha once before and I beat her,” said Zingano. “I know what she has, I felt what she can bring, and I’m ready to move on to what’s next. I hope Ronda wins. She’s a great champion and I really want to go out there and fight that champion.”