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Cat Zingano: The Uphill Climb from Motherhood to UFC World Champion

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Ca tZinganoDuring the season finale of the Ultimate Fighter 17, UFC commentators Mike Goldberg and Kenny Florian have been repeatedly describing female bantamweight fighter, Cat Zingano, as being known only by hardcore MMA fans. But before the night was over, “Alpha” Cat made sure the whole world knows who she is, and what she’s capable of inside the octagon. She scored a come from behind victory against bantamweight contender, and former Strikeforce women’s champion, Miesha Tate, in the third round with damaging knees to the head and body. Cat Zingano’s grueling Fight of the Night performance against Tate showcased her unyielding resilience in the face of adversity. Following the win, the UFC opened new horizons for her, not only did she become the first in line to UFC women’s bantamweight champion {Ronda Rousey}’s belt, she will also coach alongside Rousey in the upcoming season of the Ultimate Fighter, a first in the history of the competition.

Cat Zingano’s life has definitely changed after the fateful night of April 13, 2013. In a span of a few days, she went from being a mother and UFC fighter, to a having the once in a lifetime chance of becoming a mother and a UFC champion simultaneously. Her recent accomplishments may seem like she already won the bonanza in, but in retrospect, it is only the first step towards achieving greatness in her young UFC career.

In theory, Rousey has the edge against Zingano in almost all aspects of MMA. The champion is better at standing – reportedly sparring with boxing world champion Vic Darchinyan – grappling - a judo bronze medalist in the 2008 Olympics - and submission, as reflected by her seven first round armbar finishes in her seven professional fights. Also sporting an undefeated MMA record, Zingano is no slouch in those areas herself. She extensively trains muay thai with the world’s top coaches, a Brazilian jiu jitsu world champion in her own right, and a heart that overflows with adrenaline that injects her with much needed strength to overcome a tough challenge in Rousey. Undoubtedly, beating the champion is a tall order for any female fighter in the world, let alone a 30-year-old mother like Cat Zingano. Nevertheless, she needs to retain that firm belief in her MMA arsenal that she could budge a seemingly immovable force like Rousey, because at the end of the day, two world class female warriors will collide inside the octagon, not some MMA theorists cashing in on this modern tale of David and Goliath.