The only thing Cat Zingano needs to know about her opponents is who they are and what they look like.
After two other opponents fell through ahead of Bellator 256 on April 9, the featherweight meets Olivia Parker. With 13 years of professional fighting experience, Zingano is aware of what she can control and what she can’t.
The 38-year-old is training to put on another dominant performance under the Bellator banner. She expects her opponent is preparing to doing the same.
“Tell me the week of, tell me whatever, who they are and what they look like so I know who to square off with,” Zingano said.
“I need to cross my T’s and dot my I’s and walk out there knowing I did everything I could do to get ready, period. No matter who they throw in front of me, it doesn’t matter.”
Cat Zingano fought for UFC gold before Olivia Parker made her amateur debut
Zingano promises she is not overlooking the much-less seasoned Parker, who is 4-1. “Alpha” has more than 11 years of experience over the 39-year-old.
Zingano is a former UFC title challenger, who earned wins over current champion Amanda Nunes and former champion Miesha Tate. She already fought professionally 10 times before Parker made her first amateur appearance in April 2016.
The last time the Colorado native fought someone with less than six fights was against Rauqel Pennington at Invicta FC 3 in October 2012. Both women would go on to not only fight inside the octagon, but challenge for UFC gold.
Zingano is a veteran of the sport and knows very well it’s anyone’s game inside the cage.
“It’s been forced for sure, this fight included,” Zingano said. “Until we’re not, we are even.”
“I’m taking everything seriously”
Zingano’s record is visual proof she’s mixed it up with high level competition up to this point. Parker is coming off her first career defeat, suffering a first-round rear-naked choke against Chelsea Chandler at Invicta 40 this past July.
Between Parker’s last five fighters, her opponents combined for a 5-10 record at the time she fought them. Chandler is the only one who entered the fight with a winning record at 2-1.
Whether it’s Tate, Nunes or Parker standing across from Zingano, it’s all the same to her.
“Same as everybody else, I’m taking everything seriously,” Zingano said. “She could have learned something that she’s never done before and I would have never known it if I try to watch her videos. That’s how I like to live, something, where no matter what you looked up on me, I am going to hit you with something you weren’t expecting.”
Zingano focuses more on herself these days.
She grew tired of putting all her energy into one opponent, only to find out she will be fighting someone else after her original opponent falls out. The COVID-19 pandemic introduced a whole other issue with fighters testing positive for the virus, even increasing the chance of opponents dropping out.
With Parker being Zingano’s third opponent of this camp, “Alpha” is adjusting.
She’s making it work, but it’s definitely not her preferred way of operating.
“You still just have to get ready as if, no matter what. That has its own level of confidence because you’re like, ‘Yeah, I’m a bad [expletive], you could throw a truck in front of me right now and I feel like I would know what to do,’” Zingano said. “At the same time, just the predictable nature of it, it’s tricky.”