“Fights can go any way, any day.” Cat Zingano returns this Friday at Bellator 256, taking on the little known Olivia Parker. But the featherweight contender knows as well as anyone that the MMA gods can be cruel. “It’s so much to lose. She’s got so much to lose too. It’s very tricky here in the MMA world, and really anything can happen.”
Speaking at the Bellator 256 virtual media day on Wednesday, Zingano (11-4) was asked about a rematch with former UFC and Strikeforce champ Miesha Tate in a cross-promotional fight. That’s not likely to happen, as the returning former champ is in a different weight class, with a different promotion, Zingano’s old home of the UFC. Another interesting rematch could take place in the not-so-distant future, however: Megan Anderson.
The former Invicta FC champ and UFC title challenger recently exited the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Making her one of the biggest names on the free agent market.Bellator has continued to make a big splash when it comes to signing competitive free agent fighters. And Zingano, for one, would love that rematch with Anderson, after their first meeting ended due to a toe poke — which was ruled a loss for “Alpha” Cat.
“Of course. Totally. She didn’t touch a hair on my head. Literally not one,” Zingano said of her willingness to fight Anderson once more. “Just a toe in my eye. They made a rule change after that, saying that that is officially a poke. I guess now there’s a five minute time allotment, the same thing as if you get a finger in the eye.”
Zingano didn’t got any such allowance, or a no contest due to injury. Instead, despite Anderson’s toe jabbing her eye, the fight was ruled a TKO loss.
Joking that she’s “happy to be part of history, again, in the sport,” although not necessarily in such a disgusting way, Zingano added that the loss is “something that I want to fix. I was doing good in the beginning of that fight. I was feeling really good during that camp. It was my first fight up at 145, I got ready for it like a beast, and then it was just this weird, unfortunate ending that just feels incomplete.”
Anderson’s recent fight against Amanda Nunes for the UFC featherweight title did not go unnoticed by Cat Zingano. “Her fight with Amanda was a very interesting one too. Because I beat Amanda, and Amanda beat her with this crazy ease,” she observed. “There may have been some nerves in there for Megan, but I’m sure that she’s hungry to fix all of that herself. If she comes over, I would definitely like to revisit that.”
Leslie Smith was recently announced as the next challenger to Cris Cyborg’s title. It’s a bout many thought might have gone to Zingano, but the #3 ranked featherweight isn’t upset at the perceived snub.
“I’m okay with getting some more experience. Especially because I had some time off before this last one, and I had a big surgery,” explained Zingano. “I really needed to see who and what and how my body was after that. And I’m very pleased with how I feel and how I’m doing. So getting in and fighting for 15 minutes against [Gabby Holloway] was a very good experience, very good for me to do. That exact same night was the night that Leslie fought, and she had a good win that night as well.”
Zingano actually expected herself and the winner of Smith’s fight to face off. “So I did expect this week to be Leslie, but they obviously needed to pick somebody to move forward with Cyborg,” she noted. “And I think that a rematch for them makes sense. I’m happy to take what I can from whoever wins that fight.”
Of course, Zingano also realizes that “none of that can happen unless I show up and do my best on Friday night.”
Cat Zingano faces Olivia Parker on the main card of Bellator 256 this Friday, April 9 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. In the U.S., the event airs live on Showtime.