April 13th, 2013 — The date was set for former Strikeforce bantamweight champion Miesha ‘Cupcake’ Tate to make her Ultimate Fighting Championship debut, her opponent would be none other than one of the headliners for UFC 184 Cat Zingano. Neither of the two had yet to compete on the grandest stage of them all in the UFC and would be making their debuts with wins in their previous fights, Zingano being undefeated. As if the pressure of a UFC debut wasn’t enough, the winner of this bout would earn a No. 1 contender spot against ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey.
It was announced of March of 2013 that the winner of this bout would also be hosting the first ever TUF series coached by female fighters.
The first round began with a blitz from Tate who quickly took control of the cage and her opponent as she took Zingano down and had her on her back within seconds. Following a quick back and forth scramble, the fight was taken back up to the feet where both women exchanged vicious strikes in the very first round. It normally takes Zingano a couple of minutes before finding her range and imploring her technique to it’s fullest potential but when she turns it on, there is no question as to why she remains undefeated after having competed since 2007.
As the fight entered the third round the momentum was clearly on Zingano’s side as she was able to control the grappling and striking exchanges, eventually leading to finish due to knees and elbows to a bloody and beaten Tate.
Am I nervous? Yeah. Am I scared? Sure. But I do this because I love it. It’s not about being famous or making headlines. – Cat Zingano
Many believed that Tate would earn a victory over Zingano which would set up a rematch between Rousey and Tate but then came Zingano. A golden opportunity now awaited as Zingano would now coach TUF 18 opposite Rousey. This would be the beginning of an unfortunate turn of events for the No. 1 contender as she suffered a right knee injury during practice which would eventually sideline her for a little over a year only to have the women she just defeated in Tate to replace her as the TUF 18 coach.
The No. 1 contender spot that Zingano had fought so to capture was now gone. This was only the beginning of a tragic journey, followed by an event in which Zingano still deals with til this day. In January 13th 2014, Zingano’s husband, Mauricio Zingano sadly took his own life as he hung himself in Denver, CO. Leaving behind a beautiful wife and son with now only themselves, family and friends to turn to.
Amazingly, just weeks after this tragic and horrific incident, Zingano returned to training and after just eight months, Zingano had an opponent in Amanda Nunes at UFC 178 for September of 2014. Not only did Zingano win the fight but she did so by forcing the referee to stop the fight in the third round due to elbows and punches. This win earned Zingano her well deserved No. 1 contender spot against the ‘Rowdy’ one.
Zingano (9-0 UFC/MMA) is know for being an emotional fighter, devastating striker and is also well respected for leaving it all in the cage. This can and will be expected once she collides with Rousey at UFC 184 in Los Angeles, CA.
I’ve been through a lot… I always figure it out. I’ll always come back around. I make it work, that’s what I do.. – Cat Zingano
Be sure to watch UFC 184 beginning live at 7PM/10PM PT/ET only on pay per view