Three months removed from surgery to fix a torn ACL in her right knee, Cat Zingano is on the comeback trail, with her eyes set firmly on current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. That’s the scenario she’s envisioning, the same one she was erased from when her injury happened.
If things play out as she imagines, Zingano will have been blessed with the gift of extra time to prepare for Rousey, yet it’s time she says she doesn’t need or want. At least not in that way. Amazingly, Zingano said she is not spending any time at all preparing for Rousey’s signature finisher, the armbar.
Even though Rousey is 7-0 with seven first-round armbars, Zingano has refused to alter the training philosophy that also has her undefeated in eight professional bouts. She made the admission on Wednesday’s edition of UFC Tonight, when she was asked by co-host Chael Sonnen just how much extra time she’s spending on defending the move.
"None," she said with a smile.
"You might want to change that," a surprised Sonnen responded. "Is a coach around?"
In fact, Zingano is married to a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Mauricio Zingano, and is herself a purple belt. However, illustrating the trademark confidence that helped vault her to the No. 1 contender spot, Zingano said she wouldn’t alter her game or her training for anyone. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
“Just because she’s done it up until now doesn’t mean she can do it to everyone,” she said. “Which is why I state my case in not training for her. I’ve never trained for a single person I’ve fought. I’ve only trained to improve and that’s how I plan on continuing to go. I don’t know why I’d change my game now.”
Before she gets there though, Zingano still has some hurdles to cross. While she continues to strengthen her right knee through physical therapy, she suffered a meniscus injury to her left knee that is believed to be the result of overcompensation. As a result, she’ll have a stem cell procedure on Thursday in hopes of avoiding injury. With no further setbacks, she believes she’ll be ready for a spring 2014 date with Rousey.