MANILA, Philippines – Gina Carano, who was for a long time the torchbearer of women’s mixed martial arts (MMA), is happy to see UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey blaze a new trail in their sport.
Carano has not competed in an MMA fight since losing to Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos in August 2009 and has since embarked on an acting career. In 2011, she starred in the action-thriller film "Haywire."
But in an interview with MMA Fighting, Carano expressed her happiness over Rousey’s success in MMA.
“I think it’s great for females that she did come along and revamped, and just kind of got everybody excited. I think that’s a beautiful thing,” said Carano, who holds a 7-1 MMA record.
After compiling a 6-0 MMA record, Rousey became the first female fighter to be signed by the UFC. She was promoted as the UFC’s women’s bantamweight champion, and she will defend her title against Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157.
“That puts a lot of pressure on her,” Carano said. “But it also opens up a lot of doors for other female (fighters).”
“I was in that position, and now she’s in that position and what it’s doing is, it’s escalating and helping doors open. And it’s not like she isn’t deserving of it, because she is really good,” Carano added.
Carano admitted that she was slightly disappointed the UFC could not put together a match between Rousey and “Cyborg,” who are two most highly accomplished active female fighters.
“It bummed me out that Cyborg and Ronda weren’t the first UFC fight, because at least that would have brought a little bit of history to it... It would have been really cool for that to be the first one,” she said.
Carano was non-committal when asked if she has completely retired from the sport, but did say that she is focused on her movie career.
“If your focus is fighting, then you’re a fighter. That’s not my focus right now,” she said.