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Ronda Rousey's coach describes Cat Zingano as a 'desperate fighter'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Cat Zingano is trying to become the first fighter to not only beat Ronda Rousey, but actually give her a run for her money.

Rousey has dominated every one of her past opponents en-route to ten straight wins to begin her MMA career, all of them by finish. How is Zingano any different from the rest? Rousey's coach Edmond Tarverdyan tried to break it down last week at his Glendale Fighting Club gym.

"Desperate fighter, I would say," he said. "One word would be desperate. She's always looking for that win and she just all of a sudden, she walks in there and throws a flying knee or a kick. Everything she does, she's desperate for it. When people are losing a little bit and they want to do something to get that win at the end to survive in there and get that victory, I feel like she does that every second. So that makes her a bit dangerous."

Zingano (9-0), who challenges Rousey for the UFC women's bantamweight title at UFC 184 on Feb. 28 in Los Angeles, has also never lost. In the UFC, she has rallied in both of her fights to TKO Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes in the third round. "Alpha" has a background in wrestling, has solid jiu-jitsu and is actually most known for her Muay Thai. She could be the most well-rounded of Rousey's opponents, but Tarverdyan thinks her biggest asset is unpredictability.

"She just somehow wants to win," he said. "Does she think? Does she set it up the way it's supposed to be? Is she an intelligent fighter? I would say not that. But she is very dangerous."

One of the things Tarverdyan noticed about Zingano in looking at film is that she doesn't start fights very well. He attributes that to how emotional she gets while walking out, nearly coming to tears.

"She's walking in there so emotional and that could be a reason why she's a little different in the first round," Tarverdyan said. "She gets those down and becomes a bit normal, back to what she's good at. That's why she performs better in the second and third round. It's pretty cool that she has that comeback spirit. But why it's like that, it's their job to work on that and it doesn't really matter for us. You can be the best in the first round and Ronda is still gonna get the best of you."

The coach has little doubt Rousey will win and finish Zingano. He typically predicts how "Rowdy" will finish her opponents off -- a shot to the liver against Sara McMann and an overhand right versus Alexis Davis. Both of those times he was correct, but Tarverdyan won't be letting anyone look at his crystal bell heading into the Zingano bout.

"I'm not gonna tell anybody what happens, because I want everybody to come and watch what her skills are because she has a surprise for everybody," he said. "She has some new tricks."

That's not to say Team Rousey doesn't have respect for Zingano going in.

"Definitely, she's undefeated," Tarverdyan said. "Her record shows she's undefeated and she knows how to win. If your record is 8-0, 9-0, whatever it is, that means she knows how to win."