Ronda Rousey defending her title against Gina Carano at the UFC’s year-end show might not be a foregone conclusion even if Carano is signed.
Talks between the UFC and Carano are progressing and in a better place than they were last week, reports UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani. UFC president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta met with Carano and her team Monday in Los Angeles.
White has said publicly that he’s confident a deal will be reached. He also said that Carano would likely challenge Rousey in December. That might not happen, though, because of a movie commitment Carano has, Helwani reports.
"The Opium War," starring Carano, is set to begin filming by the end of the summer or later in Upstate New York, according to syracuse.com. It’s unclear how much that would affect Carano’s training ahead of a potential women’s bantamweight championship bout against Rousey.
Rousey is coming off a 16-second knockout of Alexis Davis at UFC 175 on July 5. She has her own movie commitments, starting with premieres of "The Expendables 3" next month. There are precious few contenders left for the former judo Olympic bronze medalist, which is one of the reasons the UFC is so interested in signing Carano, who was a star for Strikeforce before making the transition over to movies full-time.
Carano has not fought in five years, a 2009 loss to Cris Cyborg, but expressed interested in returning to MMA earlier this year. Her first major Hollywood role was Steven Soderbergh’s "Haywire" in 2011 and she just starred in "In The Blood," which came out in April.
Carano would be a massive underdog to Rousey, much like all of Rousey’s opponents have been. But the drawing power of the two most well-known women’s fighters of all time holds plenty of cache to the UFC. Both Rousey and White believe Carano deserves a title shot immediately upon her return, because of what she has done in the past for women’s MMA.