Cat Zingano realizes the stakes of her upcoming fight.
The newly signed UFC women's bantamweight is one of the only female fighters on the roster, and just like in the flyweight division, it's not going to take much to earn a crack at that championship belt.
If Zingano impresses the masses against former Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion Miesha Tate in two months (April 14, 2013) at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, she'll all but certainly be granted a title shot at this weekend's Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche winner.
In part one of her interview, Zingano discussed Rousey taking an interest in her and growing up in male dominated sports. Today in part two of her interview taken from an appearance on The Verbal Submission, Zingano talks about adding small intricacies to her fight game, trying to outshine Sara McMann and living dangerously.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've mentioned adapting all sorts of small things to your skill-set to make you dangerous. What was something you saw in a movie or a fight where you immediately thought, "I want to be able to do that, I need to add that to my game?"
Cat Zingano: Immediately when I first started fighting, when I was an amateur, you weren't allowed to throw elbows, but I saw how effective they were whether it was elbows or shoulder blows or other short strikes. Those are always really fun and that's something I noticed a lot in MMA.
I'm a big MMA fan because I like to watch fights, but when it comes down to it, I don't know the history, what everyone has done, their stats and all that. I just know things that people do that I really appreciate or think are interesting. Like B.J. Penn, when he takes people's backs, he kicks them in the gut, that's awesome. I like to do that in practice now, just trying to apply his skills to my arsenal.
I did some work with Jon Jones and I wanted to add some standing elbows to my routine and also on the ground. I worked with some wrestling coaches that I grew up with and we wrestled on the national circuit together. Lester Bowling, he's Georges St. Pierre's wrestling coach and I've been working with him for years. For jiu-jitsu and judo, I work at a great school in Denver and I did a tournament at the Olympic training center and won that.
I just want to round out my game so I'm not so reliant on one specific thing. I threw myself into that sport so I could adapt that style to my game and it applies and helps my no-gi, my MMA, everything. I feel like all the sports I've done, all the things I've thrown myself into, it's helped my work ethic, my abilities and I've tried everything and while I didn't achieve in wrestling what I set out to achieve when I got started, I'm really looking forward to taking MMA to where I never took these other sports that I felt I was fully capable of.
I think I'm better at this sport than I was at any other sport. It's my calling and I've heard from many people that this was meant for me and I'm excited for this to take off for me and to put on the best fights I possibly can.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): It's assumed that should you beat Miesha Tate, you'd get the next shot at the title especially considering you're the only other female bout booked in the UFC thus far. Now with the announcement that Sara McMann and Alexis Davis have also been signed to the UFC, do you think you'd be more deserving of a title opportunity over McMann with a win over Tate?
Cat Zingano: I don't think it's about deserving anything. This is a different sport. Olympic wrestling, high school wrestling, it doesn't matter anymore. Miesha wrestles, I've wrestled Sara before and it's just a completely different sport. The work ethic is different. Some things are harder, some are easier. The accolades that some of these ladies have, I think that's great and I support wrestling 110% because it's where I come from but I think the fights should speak for themselves.
Just like Dana is going out there and making the right decisions right now, I trust him to make the right decision when it comes time to see who's the best contender for that belt. I'm pretty confident that me and Miesha are going to go out and have quite the "attention-getter" fight. It's probably going to go down in history for sure with nice shiny lights all around. I hope those girls also have a wonderful fight as well. We're here to represent and one way or the other, I trust Dana to make the right decision.
As far as right now, we all have jobs to do and that's what I focus on. I don't really do predictions, I just know I want to be a world champion and I'll do whatever it takes to get myself from here to there. Right now, there's so many different ranks, different opinions, but as far as having the true total brackets dedicated to 135-pound women in the UFC, it'll be easier to know where everyone else stands. I think they'll be able to set the standard to show where everyone is at and find where everyone stands. I'm glad for that clarity. That's a good thing.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I've read in an interview where you said that when you're not fighting, you love to do healthy and unhealthy challenges outside of MMA. I've got to know, what are some of these unhealthy challenges?
Cat Zingano: Uhhhh, unhealthy challenges. I guess it pertains to if you're taking care of yourself. I'm really outgoing. I love to be outside. If there's a cliff with water under it, I'm gonna jump it. If there's a waterfall that someone didn't die going down, I'm gonna try that. i'm a thrillseeker and I love getting involved in everything.
I'm 30 years old and if I see a cool tree, I want to climb it. I'm a free spirit. Anything that looks fun, I want to make fun. Opponents are all opponents and at the end of the day, we can all get a beer and be cool. Staying in the best possible state mentally, physically and spiritually is the best possible thing we can do for ourselves as far as the career goes.
Outside of the gym, I think it's important to have balance in the personal life. I need to make sure my family is okay before I even hit pads. Those things matter and they count to me when I'm going into the ring, the cage, I need that balance in my life. I take care of the fun side of things because training isn't always that fun. You've got to supplement it just like taking any other supplement to make up for things you lack during these long training camps. They're very time consuming and attention consuming and the balance is very important for me.
You can follow Cat on twitter @CatZingano.