Long before Ronda Rousey was taking the mixed martial arts (MMA) world by storm, armbarring anything that moved inside a ring or cage she also happened to be occupying, another female fighting sensation was breaking new ground setting ratings and attendance records as fans flocked to see her do her thing.
I'm talking, of course, about Gina Carano, the forgotten former leading lady of Strikeforce who ran off to Tinseltown for the high life of making money in movies that don't require her to get punched in the face for a living.
Carano was the original beautiful beast, the marketing ploy used by Zuffa to prop up its 135-pound champion, Rousey, in the lead up to her historic main event battle against Liz Carmouche last night (Sat., Feb. 23, 2013) at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. She won that fight by first round armbar, the seventh consecutive time she has done that as a professional.
That's in seven attempts, by the way. She's batting 1.000 and it's getting ridiculous.
"Conviction," meanwhile, is still off enjoying her new film career. But because of Rousey's success, Carano has faced more and more questions on a possible return to the cage for another go-round with the sport that made her famous. As little as less than one month ago, she wouldn't rule it out.
Now, UFC President Dana White has commented on the potential for her return and if she decides she would like to do so, the door is wide open (via MMA Fighting).
"Gina's got her thing. I'm happy for her. Good for her. She hasn't told me, but I heard that she said she'd be interested in coming back. I'm not going to push her. I think it would be pretty cool if she wanted to come back. Gina's a movie star, man. Gina's out making movies. I actually liked that she made it, and she went on and she's doing movies and things. I like that. I like to see that happening."
There is an 800-pound pink elephant in the room here, however. Carano, marketable as she may be, is in the same boat as Cris Cyborg, a fighter who should absolutely be in the UFC women's division but isn't because she can't make the 135-pound weight limit.
If you remember, Carano had trouble making 140-pounds earlier in her career, despite the fact that EliteXC literally made a title for her at that weight. She only ever fought at 135-pounds once, and that was her professional debut bout back in June 2006.
None of this matters as long as Carano decides to continue her tour of Hollywood. But should she decide to come back, a hard diet like the one Rousey manages will be in order.
Anyone hoping to see it happen?