Cat Zingano appears to have a date set for her first appearance of 2022 inside the Bellator cage, although her opponent — and a potential shot at Cris Cyborg for the featherweight title — is unclear.
Zingano, who recently was featured on a new series for Whistle entitled Double Duty, which details her road to mixed martial arts and becoming the first mom to ever compete in the UFC, is 2-0 since signing with Bellator. In her most recent appearance, “Alpha” submitted Olivia Parker in the first round at Bellator 256 to pick up her first finish since stopping Amanda Nunes at UFC 178 in September 2014.
Cyborg has called for a fight with Zingano following her previous two title defenses against Leslie Smith and Sinead Kavanagh. Bellator President Scott Coker recently stated that the promotion is planning for the matchup between Cyborg and Zingano to take place in the first half of the year, yet according to the potential challenger, that’s still up in the air.
“Cris and I have probably been calling each other out for over a decade at this point,” Zingano said. “The fight I had with Megan Anderson [at UFC 232], I was told to train as an alternate in case anything happened between Cris and Amanda [as a backup].
“We’ve had these conversations and she’s been calling me out since I got to Bellator, I’ve been calling her out since I’ve been at Bellator, but it always seems like there’s crickets afterwards. I’ve heard from them as well, but it doesn’t ever happen. I’ve been waiting, but I believe it will be this year.
“I’ve confirmed March 11 will be my next fight, but I don’t have an opponent or a location confirmed,” Zingano continued. “I’ve been told that I can start training my butt off for that date.
“They’re talking about it, management is talking about it, but I’m just getting ready for whenever. I want that, I’m sure it will be this year, but I’m not sure whether or not that will be next.”
Earlier this week, Cyborg took to social media to state that the March 11 date would work just fine for her should the promotion move forward with that title bout.
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 picking up octagon wins over Nunes, Miesha Tate, and Raquel Pennington.
Having competed against almost every big name in the history of women’s MMA, Zingano feels like she still has a lot more to prove in her career. If the tail end of her MMA journey leads her back into the UFC, she would be fine with an opportunity to right some wrongs.
“I have a bit of stubbornness — especially with the fights that I’ve lost — where I know what I had going on in my life, what my body and my mind were acting like, and I know that I’d love to avenge losses,” Zingano stated. “I would even like to avenge bad performances and just show up in a way that I’m proud of, walk away in a way that I’m proud of.
“My body is so much healthier and I have all of this energy, my physiology worked itself out and it would be a lot easier to make 135 now. When I watch the UFC and I see Julianna Pena beating Amanda Nunes, and I see all of these other people that I’ve fought, there’s a lot of unfinished business that I see over there. Do I want to do that? I don’t know. I still have two fights left on this contract and I’m very loyal and committed to it. I’m very excited about this contract and about the 145 [pound] division at Bellator. I want that title and I want to fight the best of the best [in Bellator].
“Realistically, the world is an oyster as far as MMA goes, and as long as I’m feeling good, loving it, and as long as I’m winning and having great days in the practice room, I just want to see what I can do. I want to find my ceilings and my walls.”