by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
Gina Carano is one of the fastest rising new stars of MMA. Over the past few months she’s gone from being relatively unknown in our sport to becoming one of the figureheads of the female MMA movement.

After becoming the first woman, along with Leiticia Pestova, to be part of the first ever NSAC-sanctioned female fight, Carano fallowed it up a few months later by becoming the first woman to fight and win a MMA fight for the Strikeforce promotion when she defeated Elaina Maxwell in December.

Now Gina steps back into the spotlight in this week’s episode of “Warrior Nation”, debuting on MSNBC January 23rd, as they chronicle her and Elaina Maxwell’s journey to their Strikeforce showdown.

“I haven’t gotten to see it yet, so I don’t know what to expect, but I know that I was myself throughout the whole taping,” said Carano of her episode of “Warrior Nation.”

“The fight was awesome,” continued Gina. “It got a standing ovation and was one of the more exciting fights at Strikeforce. Elaina Maxwell seems like a cool chick and I think we’re going to represent a completely different view [of MMA].”

Having had an opportunity to see last week’s episode, which featured Erin Toughill and her husband Clark Bevans, Carano expects the production to be much the same for her episode and hopes it will portray her, and the sport, in a positive manner.

“The way they put it together was great,” exclaimed Gina. “The overall feeling when they were filming me was a positive experience. The fight and everything was so positive so I can’t imagine it turning out bad. I’m really looking forward to it.”

If being featured on “Warrior Nation” wasn’t enough, Carano was recently announced to have signed with EliteXC, the new MMA promotion debuting on Showtime in February.

According to Gina, the whole process of her signing with EliteXC went a lot quicker than most contract signings.

“EliteXC called up my manager Dean Albrecht and they offered us an awesome deal for signing with them,” commented Carano. “Actually it all happened in about 15 hours. I got the offer, Dean went over the contracts and then he went over it with me and my mom, which was at 7PM, and the next morning at 6AM I was on a flight to go to LA for the press conference.”

One of the deciding factors in Gina signing with EliteXC was the opportunity to continue to make more history and be a positive role model and example of females in MMA.

“I’m looking forward to being the first female fighter period boxing or MMA on Showtime,” admitted Carano. “I’ve been like the first in a couple different things like Strikeforce and Nevada, but to be a first in Showtime is awesome.”

During a conference call with Pro Elite Inc. [EliteXC’s parent company] President Gary Shaw, he mentioned how he wants to make Gina, “The face of woman’s MMA.” It’s a statement that Gina knows will come with a bit of trepidation from other female fighters, particularly those whom have been fighting MMA for longer than Carano has.

“I have no idea how they’re going to react,” said Gina. “Maybe it’ll be a good thing, maybe it’ll be a bad thing, and honestly I really don’t even care. I mean, I think that’s awesome that Gary said that of me to the world, I just want to live up to those expectations and do my best to be that or beyond whatever I can be.”

Carano’s first scheduled opponent in February for EliteXC is former Hook-N-Shoot GP Champion Julie Kedzie. It’s a fight that Gina is very much looking forward to being a part of.

“The fight’s going to be tough,” exclaimed Carano. “Her record is 7-4 and I heard she’s an all-out brawler. We’re going for Fight of the Night. We’ve got to show the world what two girls fighting is all about.”