Former UFC women’s bantamweight title contender Cat Zigano is looking to reascend herself back to the top of the organization where she once enjoyed great success upon making her UFC debut in 2013.
‘Alpha’ Cat will get a chance to do so on December 29 at UFC 232 as she will move up to featherweight and face former Invicta FC 145 pound champion Megan Anderson.
Should Zingano avoid any injuries or any negatives occurrences, this will be her third consecutive appearance inside the octagon in 2018, making it the busiest 12 month run for the often injury prone veteran fighter in nearly a decade.
Not only that, Zingano’s bout with Anderson is expected to be the official substitute for UFC 232’s co-main event, the much talked about super fight between UFC women’s champions Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes.
Cyborg recently spoke out about the UFC making a second featherweight fight for UFC 232 just in case something disastrous happens, and Zingano accredits Cyborg for her insistence, as one of the prime reasons her fight with Megan Anderson is happening to begin with.
“I believe it was Cris who was out there saying that she wanted to petition for there to be an alternate training to get ready, because she was worried Amanda was going to pull out. And I’m sitting there — I get it,” Zingano explained Monday on The MMA Hour. “I don’t know how many times Amanda has been pulled out or has pulled herself out, but enough for it to be a concern, and so it’s like, ‘Well, there is a likeliness there, and maybe that’s what’s up. I’ll join in, see what ends up happening, get ready for it.’ I’ve wanted to be in camp. I’ve been feeling antsy. I’ve been feeling stationary right now and it’s been kinda hard. I had goals of wanting to get a third fight within the year, and that’s really what was open.
“I wasn’t sure that it was going to happen, I was hoping it was going to happen, but this is what’s next and I’m just excited to have something on the calendar right now. I’ve been feeling on fire. I’ve been feeling excited to get my hands on people again. I’ve been good, everything’s been right lately, so I just want to keep that momentum.”
Once she noticed Cyborg’s plea for a back up women’s featherweight bout available for UFC 232 on social media, Zingano immediately campaigned to UFC matchmakers.
According to Zingano, UFC officials had agreed to originally make her UFC 232’s plan B, but then decided to offer her the Anderson fight once things had finally been settled.
Zingano of course gladly accepted, and is happy to compete inside the octagon once again for a third time in a calendar year that has been the busiest one she’s had of her UFC career.
Yet even still, as far as she’s understands it, she is still the top reserve option ahead of Anderson, should something unfortunate happen to force either Cyborg or Nunes out of their UFC 232 co-main event.
“That’s how it originally started, so I’m gonna assume [that’s how things still stand], and yeah, it’s clear,” Zingano said. “And the way Cyborg was trying to say that it would be tournament-style — so maybe me and Megan would be the No. 1 contender fight, they’re the title fight, so our winner fights their winner is kinda the vibe that I’m getting. But I guess we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. Results talk.”
The move to featherweight has been one that’s been developing for Zingano for quite some time.
After persevering over a three fight losing streak, then getting a dominant victory in her most recent contest against Marion Reneau at UFC Boise, Cat Zingano has found herself back in the championship race once again.
And knowing the opportunity that had been presented to her at UFC 232, she figured now would be the perfect time to move up and finally test herself at 145 pounds.
“I’m a really big 135er. I cut down from 160,” Zingano explained. “I have an incredible plan set in place for that; something that, I’ve been cutting weight since I was 12 years old. My body is not too happy with doing it, but it gets the job done. So to be able to cut and stop at 145 versus stop at 135, that’s amazing to me.
“I still have plans and designs in the 135 division, because at this point it’s about girls my size, so that would be girls at 135 and girls at 145. Ultimately, the goal would be to have the strap in both divisions. But yeah, going up [to featherweight], I get to lift differently, I get to lift way heavier, work on different dynamic and explosive movements that might’ve put on size or weight [before]. Those are all things I get to implement and use now that I get to use that extra 10 pounds, so it’s going to be fun. I’m watching myself with my coaches just be excited, having me do other things. It’s exciting, I think. I look forward to it a lot.”
All being said, Zingano realizes her first fight at featherweight will not be tune up by any means as Megan Anderson is not only a former Invicta FC world champion, but she is also a legit 145 pounder with the size and strength to overpower any opponent at either 135 pounds or 145 pounds.
“She’s a large girl,” Zingano said of Anderson. “She definitely has the length and the size in her back pocket, but depending on opponent’s strengths and stuff, I like those long legs. That’s a whole lot of legs to grab on to. I feel I can definitely move faster than her. I think I’m stronger, I think I have a lot more weapons and tools to use. She got that UFC rust off, so she knows what it’s like to be in there now, and I expect that it’ll be a much more exciting fight, but I’m not sleeping on her. I think that she’s a really tough opponent and she’s game. She’s got that look in her eye and I think it’s a very interesting, very good matchup.”