by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Gina Carano burst onto the mixed martial arts scene when the spotlight shown down on her and Julie Kedzie as they put on a “fight of the night” performance at the first ever EliteXC event. That was in February of 2007.

Seven months later, she quieted many critics with a first round submission of Tonya Evinger and seemed to be rocketing towards the top of the women’s side of the sport.

It has now been five months since that bout and everyone, including Carano, is getting anxious for her return to the cage… but don’t hold your breath. She has been busy portraying “Crush” on the re-invented American Gladiators television series.

She has one season of Gladiators in the bag and was looking towards a possible return to fighting at the next EliteXC and Strikeforce co-promotion – scheduled for March 29 featuring Frank Shamrock and Cung Le – but according to her comments on the HDNet series Inside MMA on Friday night, fighting in March may not work into her schedule.

Asked when she would make her return to fighting, Carano told co-hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten, “Not soon enough. I might be doing another season of American Gladiators in March and April and then right after that I’d like to jump into a fight.”

It is somewhat ironic that Carano has had a difficult time nailing down her next fight. As she said on Friday night, “I originally did the American Gladiators thing to help bring in the crowd to female fighting and watching me on EliteXC.”

She sounded upbeat about the prospects of the female side of the sport though, not buying into the talk that she is the only fighter of her gender of any significance. Carano said of the women in the sport, “There are a lot of fighters, actually. I think that EliteXC wanted to get me some experience because at the time when I signed with them, I was only 3-0. So now I’ve got two fights under my belt with them.”

She went on to say that there are many respected female fighters that she has yet to face, such as Tara LaRosa, Amanda Buckner, Lucia Rijker and others. “If more of these women want to get into it, I’m all game,” said Carano

But as of right now, the bigger question is just when she will be able to stop promoting fighting, and just plain have the time to get back in the cage and do what she’s passionate about… fight.