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Gina Carano would have KO’d Ronda Rousey: ‘I’m one of the hardest punchers that women’s MMA has ever seen’


Gina Carano was a big part of history for women in mixed martial arts (MMA).

If Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) CEO, Dana White, had his way, female fighters would have entered his promotion four years sooner than they inevitably did in 2013. That’s according to the 145-pound pioneer, Carano, anyway.

The rising MMA superstar, Carano, was a perfect 7-0 before she clashed with future legend, Cris “Cyborg” Justino, in August 2009. Unfortunately for the actress, Carano lost the bout via a first round technical knockout and called it a career. However, the sport’s trajectory could have changed dramatically had she won and stuck around.

“Me and Dana had a conversation right before I fought Cyborg; Dana and Lorenzo Fertitta had me into their office, and basically they were like, ‘we’d like you to come over and be our company’s first female fighter,’” Carano revealed on the PBD Podcast (h/t MMA Fighting). “I just couldn’t do that because I had my promises and my contract to Strikeforce.”

Ultimately, UFC absorbed and purchased Strikeforce two years after Carano’s defeat, which meant UFC eventually owned her contract. Discussions came down the road for a Carano return in 2014 after UFC launched its Bantamweight division the year before with Strikeforce’s roster, helmed by inaugural champion, Ronda Rousey.

White’s outspoken nature regarding Carano proved problematic for the former star. Carano, 41, needed six months of preparation for the potential match up due to the weight cut to 135 pounds and needing to find a gym for a full fight camp. On top of that, she was still juggling her acting career, which was too much with the pressure White applied in the public.

Regardless of all that’s happened since the early 2010s, Carano believes she’d have put away Rousey had they clashed.

“I do absolutely [believe I would have won],” Carano said. “Because I pack a hell of a punch. I know how she punches. I punch like a trucker. [She would have the edge] on the ground, but I’m scrambly.

“It’s no disrespect, and I’m sure she would say the same thing that she would win, but that’s just something I know,” she concluded. “After you’ve been punched like that, she got shook twice [by] Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm; I’m one of the hardest punchers that women’s mixed martial arts has ever seen.”

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