Not only does she have a professional women’s MMA record of 7-0, but she finished six out of those seven fights: three by submission, two by TKO, and one by knockout.
Zingano will face Miesha “Cupcake” Tate [13-3] on April 13, 2013, at The Ultimate Fighter Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she will take part in the second women’s MMA bout in the history of the UFC. On the line if she wins? A shot at the women’s bantamweight championship, and a chance to do battle with the “Queen of the UFC,” Ronda Rousey.
Additionally, at UFC 158, Dana White announced that the winner of the Tate-Zingano matchup will go on to coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter alongside Rousey, which will now consist of both men and women’s MMA hopefuls.
I was fortunate enough to capture a few minutes of time from this phenomenal athlete, who in 2011 was ranked as the number one 125-pound female MMA Fighter in the World. We talk about her background as a wrestler, sex appeal in MMA, training under her husband, Master Mauricio Zingano, and of course, her guiltiest pleasure. Enjoy!
Stephanie Joplin: Tell me about how you got into wrestling at such a young age. Obviously an unusual sport for a girl of 12! Any fun anecdotes about beating up tons of boys growing up are welcome.
Cat Zingano: I had a mentor in middle school that was always looking out for me. I was getting into fights and getting in trouble. He coached the wrestling team and asked me to come check out a practice. It turned out the boy I had a crush on was one of the top wrestlers on the team and in the region. I came to practice the next day and got teamed up with him. I beat him pretty bad and I was hooked on the sport. Needless to say after that practice I no longer had a crush on the boy!
SJ: You were a four-time All American and National Champ wrestler and competed on Team USA. What are your thoughts on the International Olympic Committee removing wrestling from The Games?
CZ: I think it’s horrible! Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world and founded the Olympics. Wrestling has given me so much in my life and it’s sad to think other girls and boys aren’t going to get to live their dream because of advertising money.
SJ: Training in Colorado, how does one prepare differently to fight at sea level? Do you ever feel a bit off balance and if so, how do you train against that?
CZ: Training in Colorado is great. I definitely feel great and my cardio is increased at sea level for a short amount of time.
SJ: You and your husband, Mauricio Zingano, make quite the pair! Is that how you got into BJJ in 2007? Or did you meet him along the way? Was he already a black belt at the time you met?
CZ: Yeah, he’s a great man! Yes, I was looking for something to do and I walked in his academy signed up for a free week, and again I was hooked! Master Zingano is truly an amazing coach and husband.
CZ: Yes he’s coached me from the beginning. It’s tough sometimes being married to my coach. But where there’s love, you find a way to work it out and find middle ground. It’s so important not to bring your work home every day.
SJ: How did becoming a mother change your training and competing schedule? How did you manage to work around all the new responsibilities?
CZ: It adds an additional level of responsibilities for sure. I take him to school each morning and train throughout the day (just like any one else that goes to work every day). Mauricio is a HUGE help at home with our son, he takes on some extra tasks so I can rest and makes sure the home life stays as normal as possible.
SJ: How do you think being “attractive” or “pretty” factors in to success and fame as a woman with a career in MMA? Do you think “sex” is an important part of selling women’s MMA?
CZ: Well I guess it doesn’t hurt to be sexy! But when it’s all said and done the fans want great fights. If we just walked out all sexy and didn’t perform in the cage then it would just be modeling and our fans expect more…a lot more!
SJ: Do you feel “left out” of the rivalry between your opponent, Miesha Tate, and current UFC Bantamweight Champ, Ronda Rousey?
CZ: Nope, not at all. Those girls don’t like each other that’s fine with me. But I’m here to win the UFC Championship belt and plan on doing it in the cage, not on twitter, or jump into any girl drama.
SJ: Both you and Miesha are all over the board when it comes to skills in mixed martial arts. Your records speak to that – both strong strikers and grapplers. Do you plan on using that wrestling background to really gain the advantage in this fight?
CZ: You know Miesha and I type of fighters for the most part: our game plan is to dominate at ever aspect of the fight. I’ve shown in the past I can finish anyone, anytime with any technique.
SJ: Do you have any pre-fight rituals or superstitions?
CZ: Not really. I like to watch funny movies with my coaches and manager. We just chill in the hotel room most of the time.
SJ: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
CZ: Sweets! Love them; can’t talk about them now and for sure can’t have them during camp.
Photo Credits: Phenom Management