The long-time bantamweight and featherweight contender Cat Zingano (10-4) was surprisingly cut by the UFC last week.
The move shocked many with 37-year-old Zingano still a relevant name in both divisions. Since losing in rather unusual fashion to Megan Anderson at UFC 232, “Alpha” has not competed.
It appears this inactivity has led to her release from the promotion. A lack of Octagon time is the choice of Zingano who is working on another “project”, something the UFC aren’t too happy with.
Cat Zingano addressed her release in a statement.
“I didn’t want to take the ultimatum this time. So, I guess you can say it was mutual. I had a project that was very, very important to me, and to the MMA community and fans, and I needed to put me, my son, my training and that first before I had anything to give to the UFC. It’s shitty timing, but it happens, and I’m still a fighter and ready to fuck shit up.”
Here are some options for what Cat Zingano could possibly do next:
A “Cyborg” Fight
Cat Zingano joins Cris “Cyborg” Santos on the list of high-profile women fighters recently cut by the UFC. The Brazilian legend is still without a promotion after her tumultuous relationship with the UFC came to an end. After years of pursuing the best fighters in the UFC, Cat Zingano could now be matched with Cris Cyborg in a different promotion.
A huge coup for whoever signs her, “Cyborg” will attract significant numbers wherever she signs but she’ll need a worthy opponent. Cat Zingano would represent a perfect match-up for Cyborg, as a talented fighter with a well-known name.
The fight is now a more likely proposition with both fighters free from their UFC contracts and in search of opportunities elsewhere.
The Bellator Option
Julia Budd (13-2) is Bellator’s inaugural and current featherweight title holder. The 145lb champion appears to be one of the best fighters on the planet right now and is in serious need of a challenge.
The former kick boxer has only ever lost to Ronda Rousey and Amanda Nunes, both of which came early in her career. Budd recently stretched her win streak to 11 when she starched Olga Rubin at Bellator 224, marking her third consecutive title defense.
“The Jewel” of Bellator’s roster of women is struggling for opponents and Zingano is a high-profile name that could immediately challenge for Budd’s title. She would be the biggest win of Budd’s career, should she pull off the victory. On the flip side, Zingano has the tools to push Budd all the way for a coveted title.
Whatever you do, don’t count out Cat Zingano’s next fight being under the UFC banner. “Alpha” is still a real player in Women’s MMA and the UFC will acknowledge that.
Once the dust has settled, it’s likely that Zingano and the UFC will re-open a dialogue that see’s her continue to fight for the company. This move wouldn’t be unprecedented for the UFC, who as recently as last year, cut and then resigned Yair Rodriguez in similar circumstances.
Cat Zingano knows the UFC remains the biggest show in town and her preference will likely be to remain under the promotion. On the flip side of that, the UFC will understand that Zingano is one of the bigger names of their female divisions, which aren’t exactly stacked with stars.
Although the situation between the promotion and fighter looks bleak right now, you are never more than a positive phone call away from reconciling with the UFC.
The UFC and Cat Zingano’s relationship stretches back to 2013 and it may not be done just yet.
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The Scrap’s Jordan Ellis of Liverpool, UK is a lifelong fight fan and aspiring writer. Covering all things MMA and Boxing, you can follow him on Twitter (@JordanEllisUK) for daily fight news and content.