A familiar face might be making her UFC debut this year
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
ORLANDO – As each day passes it appears more and more likely that former Strikeforce and Elite XC standout Gina Carano is bound for the UFC Octagon.
UFC president Dana White met with Carano this past week to discuss her return to fighting, and while a deal is not done right now, it appears eminent to happen as soon as an agreement on a new contract is met.
"I’m confident that we will (sign her) but we’ll see what happens," White said. "Until we have a deal, we’re not even thinking about anything.
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"I feel like it’s going to happen, but crazier s–t has happened."
While White has talked about Carano a lot lately he had never actually met her before his meeting with her this week where the discussed the possibility of her returning to fighting. It was there that he was convinced that not only was she ready to come back, but she was excited and motivated to truly conquer the sport she once ruled as the face of women’s MMA.
"Wait till you guys here what this girl has to say," White teased. "It’s absolutely fascinating talking to her. I don’t ever use this word ever, I don’t think I’ve ever used it in my life — she’s one of the most charming human beings that I have ever met. When you sit down and listen to what she has to say about fighting, it’s awesome."
As far as he return and making it to bantamweight — a division she did not compete at in her previous stint in fighting — White says she’s also ultra confident about that, too. White says Carano is ‘100-percent positive she can make 135’.
If Carano signs with the UFC soon, White knows she won’t debut most likely until late in 2014 for a couple of reasons. First, Carano hasn’t been a full time mixed martial artist in more than five years so she would have to build a new training camp and get back into fight shape. Second, Carano is coming back for a shot at UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, and White says that’s the fight they will make without a doubt.
The UFC president has heard the buzz about Carano’s long layoff, not to mention she is coming off a loss in her last fight, but he stands by the notion that if she’s returning, it’s for a shot at the title and to face Rousey. And that’s exactly the fight the UFC will make.
"I do think she does (deserve Ronda on day one)," White said. "She’s legit, everybody knows she’s legit. When I met with her, if some of these people said half the s–t to me that she said to me when we met, I’d love it. I love what she had to say and I’m excited. I hope I get a deal done with her."
Carano returning and getting a title shot in her first bout back has ruffled the feathers of a few women’s bantamweight fighters already, most notable former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate. At Saturday night’s post fight press conference following the FOX UFC show in Orlando, Tate said she would love the chance to fight Carano and had previously stated that her getting a title shot in her first fight back would be a terrible idea.
White certainly doesn’t agree with anyone who argues that Carano doesn’t deserve a title shot, but he really doesn’t see why Tate should say anything about it considering how she ended up in a rematch with Rousey last year.
"What could Miesha b-tch about?" White said. "Miesha got a title shot against Ronda again because Cat (Zingano) got hurt. She’s been pretty lucky."