Something happened at Bellator 256 on Friday that hasn’t happened since 2014: Cat Zigano put together a win streak.
That’s not to discredit “Alpha” Cat, who has long been one of the best female fighters in mixed martial arts. Rather, well documented personal struggles and just plain bad luck had hampered her success in the sport. Her title fight against Ronda Rousey ended in what was then a promotional record of 14 seconds. A couple of losses later, and Zingano looked like she was in a tail spin.
Things are looking better of late. The freaky toe-poke loss to Megan Anderson, Zingano’s only loss in her past four fights, is well in the distance. At Bellator 256, Cat nabbed her first submission win since 2012, securing an arm-bar on Olivia Parker for a second straight victory.
“This was a very sweet win,” Zingano (12-4) said following the bout, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press. “To get a finish, I’ve always loved getting the finish. I’ve always loved that thrill of the quit. So it was really good to get a finish. It’s been a minute. So I’m really happy to have that, I feel good. I’m happy.”
Cris Cyborg will defend her featherweight title against Leslie Smith next, a rematch from their UFC days. At various points in time, Zingano has been linked to both fighters, but the bouts never saw the light of day. Now, she feels ready to take on the victor.
“I think I’ve done enough over time to get a shot at the winner for that,” she said. Whether her win over Parker is what seals the deal, Zingano couldn’t say. “With this performance, who knows. I know that I’m a lot more experienced coming into the fight.”
Being linked to past fights with Cyborg and Smith is understandable. After all, Cat Zingano is a veteran. “Over time, I’ve almost locked horns with all of these girls at a certain point,” noted Zingano. “It’ll be beautiful that it gets to happen over here [in Bellator].”
As to whether Cyborg or Smith would be the tougher opponent, Zingano noted that “all of these girls are a tough test, and really, the fighter I’m fighting out there is me. I have what it takes to beat all of these girls.”
When it comes to the booking of Cyborg vs. Smith, which was announced just a week before her own fight, Zingano isn’t upset about the timing. She understands the business, and that things need to keep moving. Besides which, she told Cageside Press on Friday, “I like to earn things. Everything in life is earned, and I want to earn my way up and get these title fights and get that belt. This is what it looks like.”
Watch the full Bellator 256 post-fight press conference with Cat Zingano above.