When Cat Zingano parted ways with the UFC in 2019, she was eight months removed from her previous fight, which made the timing of her exit rather curious.
At the time, she explained that it was a “mutual” decision after she was presented with an ultimatum by the UFC that she declined, leading to her exit from the promotion.
Almost exactly one year later, the former bantamweight title contender is preparing for her debut in Bellator MMA, where she will compete at 145 pounds. While this is her first time fighting for the ViacomCBS-owned promotion, she’s completely at peace with the decision she made to leave the UFC and move to Bellator.
“It was a very good decision to part the way we needed to part,” Zingano told MMA Fighting during the Bellator 245 virtual media day. “I have no ill relationship with the UFC, but the conversations and the way that they were going at the time of the split was, they went a way that was just made sense to have me see what else I wanted to go do.
“After shopping around to be intelligent about what I wanted to do next, Bellator was everything I could have asked for and was very authentic and straight forward with what this was going to look like. So far, it’s been everything.”
Zingano, who went 3-4 overall in the UFC including a win over two-division champion Amanda Nunes, is currently in the middle of her first fight week with Bellator, and while the circumstances are anything but normal in the midst of a global pandemic, she’s completely at ease with her new home already.
Zingano said her relationship with Bellator has already convinced her that she made the right decision signing with them.
“It’s been so mellow and supportive, just so much support,” she said. “They just want to treat you so good. They want you to enjoy your experience. Those are the things that I truly loved about the sport and martial arts when I first came up was just people wanting you to do good. Doing the things that need to be done in order for you to compete in your most optimal way.
“I’m experiencing this stress free, very comfortable week this week. Even with training camp, even with figuring out opponents, even with signing and showing up to different events. There was a whole new energy to it that just made me feel healthy and I got a bigger, better say in what everything needs to look like.”
With a potential showdown against reigning Bellator champ Cris Cyborg should she win this weekend Zingano sounds excited about her prospects for the future.
She’s happy with the way Bellator has treated her thus far, and now it’s up to her to deliver on fight night.
“I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to be taking my career in this direction right now and I’m feeling the ways that I’m feeling, being able to focus and train and handle it the way that I’ve always wanted to, “Zingano said. “It’s really nice.
“It’s a great new chapter. It’s something I’m very excited about. It’s something I’m very motivated by. Training has been going so smoothly. It’s a whole new regroup. A whole new fresh start. I feel every way I need to feel to come out and be successful.”