Cat Zingano appears to have set a date for his first appearance in 2022 in the Bellator cage, although his opponent – and a potential shot at Cris Cyborg for the featherweight title – is unclear.
Zingano, who recently took part in a new series for Whistle titled Double Duty, who details her road to mixed martial arts and becoming the first mom to compete in the UFC, is 2-0 since signing with Bellator. In her final appearance, ‘Alpha’ submitted Olivia Parker in the first round at Bellator 256 to clinch her first spot since Amanda Nunes’ stoppage at UFC 178 in September 2014.
Cyborg called for a fight with Zingano after his two previous title defenses against Leslie Smith and Sinead Kavanagh. Bellator president Scott Coker recently said the promotion expects the matchup between Cyborg and Zingano to take place in the first half of the year, but according to the potential challenger, that’s still up in the air.
“Cris and I have probably been calling each other for over a decade at this point,” Zingano said. “The fight I had with Megan Anderson [at UFC 232], I was told to practice as a substitute in case something happened between Cris and Amanda [as a backup].
“We’ve had these conversations and she’s been calling me since I came to Bellator, I’ve been calling her since I’ve been at Bellator, but it always seems like there are crickets after. I’ve also heard of them, but it never happens. I’ve been waiting, but I think it will be this year.
“I have confirmed that March 11 will be my next fight, but I don’t have a confirmed opponent or venue,” Zingano continued. “I was told that I could start training for that date.
“They talk about it, management talks about it, but I’m just preparing for anytime. I want it, I’m sure it will be this year, but I don’t know if it will be next or not.
Earlier this week, Cyborg took to social media to state that the March 11 date would be perfect for her if the promotion moves forward with this title fight.
Throughout her nearly 14-year pro career, Zingano has shared the cage with the likes of Ronda Rousey and current UFC bantamweight champion Julianna Pena, while scoring octagonal wins over Nunes, Miesha Tate. and Raquel Pennington.
Having faced nearly every big name in women’s MMA history, Zingano feels she still has a lot to prove in her career. If the end of her MMA journey brings her back to the UFC, she would be fine with an opportunity to right some wrongs.
“I have a bit of a stubbornness – especially with the fights that I’ve lost – where I know what happened in my life, what my body and my mind was like, and I know that I would like to avenge losses,” Zingano said. “I would even like to avenge bad performances and show up in a way that I’m proud of, come away in a way that I’m proud of.
“My body is so much healthier and I have all this energy, my physiology has settled down and it would be a lot easier to do 135 now. When I watch the UFC and I see Julianna Pena beating Amanda Nunes, and that I see all these other people that I’ve fought, there’s a lot of unfinished stuff I see out there. Do I want to do this? I don’t know. I still have two fights left on this contract and I am very loyal and committed. I am very excited about this contract and the 145 [pound] division at Bellator. I want this title and I want to fight the best of the best [in Bellator].
“In reality, the world is an oyster when it comes to MMA, and as long as I feel good, like it, and as long as I win and have good days in the training room, I just want to see what I can do I want my ceilings and my walls back.