Cat Zingano May Have To Win One More Fight Before Getting Her Title Shot

In a time where fighters are being dropped out of the rankings for inactivity, No. 1-ranked UFC women’s bantamweight Cat Zingano is lucky to maintain her lofty status after not fighting since her The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 Finale win over Miesha Tate, a fight that was supposed to get her a title shot opposite Ronda Rousey at the conclusion of TUF 18.

But Zingano was unfortunately forced out of the fight and off the show after tearing her ACL in training. She also ran into complications during her recovery when she injured her other knee by overcompensating.

Her path back to the cage was also hindered by the recent death of her husband Mauricio Zingano from an apparent suicide.

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While a black cloud has seemingly hung over her head since her come-from-behind victory over Tate, Zingano recently got some good news when she tweeted that she had been cleared to resume full training. No date or opponent has been set for her comeback fight.

Rousey will next defend her belt against Alexis Davis at July’s UFC 175, and with “Rowdy” currently tied up with a long list of media obligations, there’s time for a new women’s title contender to get sorted out. UFC President Dana White recently said that Zingano would most likely have to win one more big fight before getting her title shot:

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“Cat Zingano is still No. 1 contender, but she will probably fight again before getting Rousey or Alexis Davis.” – via MMA Mania

So….she’s not the No. 1 contender then? White is never all that concrete in clarifying the details of upcoming title shots, but it’s understandable that Zingano would have to re-prove herself after being out of action for over a year.

When she does come back for another chance at her long-awaited title shot, a few interesting opponents await.

Sara McMann, who recently lost to Rousey via vicious first round TKO at UFC 170, would make for an excellent test for ‘Alpha.’ A rematch with Tate, who recently got her first UFC win with a decision over Liz Carmouche at UFC on FOX 11, would probably be the most marketable fight for Zingano outside of a title shot.

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And ‘Cupcake’ has repeatedly stated that she felt referee Kim Winslow’s stoppage was early in that fight, adding the belief that Zingano nailed her with an illegal knee when her hand was on the ground.

You can bet Tate would love the opportunity to avenge that loss, and it’s one of the best female fights the UFC could put on right now.

Whom do you think Zingano should draw in her potential title eliminator fight?

Photo: Gary A. Vasquez for USA TODAY Sports