UFC president Dana White will finally sit down with women’s MMA star Gina Carano on Monday with plans in place to sign a contract and immediately set her first fight against bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey later this year.
White confirmed on Friday in Ireland that he has plans to get a deal done with Carano next week when he finally has a chance to meet with her in person. Negotiations between the UFC and Carano have been going on for several months ever since the former Strikeforce and Elite XC star expressed interest in returning to the sport.
"Next week I have a meeting with her on Monday," White said. "Pretty confident (we’ll sign her)."
Carano hasn’t fought since 2009 when she lost to TKO to Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino before she shifted to an acting career where she’s starred in feature films and television shows over the last few years. Carano told FOX Sports earlier this year that a comeback to MMA was possible under the right circumstances.
"I’m more of a fan of MMA now than I’ve ever been," Carano said. "I’m saying if the circumstance was right, I’d definitely consider it — if the circumstance were right."
The circumstances appear to be coming together between the UFC with Carano and her representation with a fight against Rousey as part of the deal to bring her to the Octagon for the first time.
White confirmed that as part of the deal that they are offering Carano, she would get to face Rousey in her first fight in the UFC most likely as part of the year end pay-per-view in December.
"I think so," White said responding to a question about Carano’s deal including a fight with Rousey as part of the contract. "December probably."
The UFC president also fired back at the notion that Carano doesn’t deserve a shot at Rousey after five years away from the sport while also coming off a loss in her last bout. While a Rousey vs. Carano pay-per-view would likely be the biggest draw for any fight in women’s MMA history, her absence from active competition since 2009 can’t be ignored.
White seems to think otherwise, especially when he points out how Carano exited after a fight she may have lost under unfair circumstances.
"She did a damn good job against Cyborg and Cyborg was a little jacked up on Mountain Dew in that fight," White said. "She’s the one that started this whole women’s MMA craze and Ronda wants to fight her. Ronda wants this fight bad. Gina wants the fight bad, too.
"Is she going to be any less competitive than any of the other girls she’s fought? The last fight, look at Alexis Davis — Alexis Davis is awesome — 16 seconds. You think Carano’s going to be less competitive than that? Six seconds? The fight before that with (Sara) McMann was a minute — you think Gina’s going to be less competitive than a minute or 16 seconds?"
Assuming White’s meeting with Carano and her team goes well on Monday, then it appears a fight with Rousey will be looming on the horizon. Rousey is currently on the mend after arthroscopic knee surgery last week as well as healing a broken thumb from her last fight against Alexis Davis at UFC 175.
If the deal gets done, expect Rousey vs. Carano to be one of the featured main or co-main event bouts for the UFC’s year end show in December or early January, depending on the timing of the final card for 2014.