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Ronda Rousey, Glendale Fighting Club camp ready for 'The Ultimate Fighter', Cat Zingano

Mixed martial arts: UFC women's champion has opponent for next fight around 'end of the year.'

April 17, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: Ronda Rousey will put her Ultimate Fighting Championship womens bantamweight title on the line against Cat Zingano sometime at the end of the year."
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Ronda Rousey will put her Ultimate Fighting… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

With a combat career already filled with firsts, the history in the making that is Ronda Rousey’s career now officially has an opponent to co-author the next chapter in women’s mixed-martial-arts chronicle.

With Rousey sitting cageside along with Glendale Fighting Club trainer Edmond Tarverdyan and friend and fellow GFC trainee Marina Shafir, bantamweights Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano made their Ultimate Fighting Championship debuts Saturday in Las Vegas at “The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale,” thrilling the Mandalay Bay crowd with Zingano winning the back-and-forth barnburner via third-round technical knockout.

There was plenty at stake, as Zingano earned a shot at Rousey’s UFC women’s bantamweight title “at the end of the year,” according to Tarverdyan, and a spot coaching the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter” thanks to the dramatic victory that took UFC Fight of the Night honors.

“Regardless of who I’m coaching against, it’s such a unique and historical situation — which seems to be coming up a lot these days,” said Rousey, 26 — the first-ever woman to sign a UFC fighter’s contract, the company’s first women’s champion and a winner in February against Liz Carmouche in the first-ever UFC women’s bout — on Saturday in a post-fight media scrum. “It’s gonna be awesome regardless.”

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Saturday’s bout was just the second women’s fight in UFC history and the victory was had by the first mother to ever grace the Octagon, the 30-year-old Zingano. Zingano made additional news as she teared up on her way to the Octagon and didn’t hesitate to admit that the emotions and magnitude of the event affected her.

“It’s surreal, it’s a really good feeling,” Zingano said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “It’s exactly what I wanted and it’s happened exactly the way I expected. Well, I guess not the way I expected. But, things are happening as they should and it feels great.

“Every single one of these moments was a new moment for me. I’ve never experienced the things that I’ve experienced this week going through the UFC and getting ready for a fight here. Like I said, it’s an experience that will be hard to top. It was a really good one.”

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