Cat Zingano’s long road to a UFC title opportunity now has a date, and it’s on what looks to be the biggest UFC event since the end of 2013.
In a report on UFC Tonight by Ariel Helwani, Dana White confirmed theRonda Rousey vs. Zingano UFC women’s bantamweight title fight would take place at UFC 182, on Jan. 3, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The fight will be on the same show as the Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier light heavyweight title fight, putting UFC’s two most anticipated championship fights on the same card.
Zingano (9-0), 32, brings a unique skill set to challenge Rousey. She started out in wrestling, winning collegiate championships and was at one point a 2004 Olympic hopeful in that sport. She later discovered jiu-jitsu, where she competed at a high level, and moved to MMA in 2008. She’s finished eight of nine opponents and captured small promotion championships at 125, 130 and 135 pounds.
She had earned a title shot at Rousey (10-0) after beating Miesha Tate on April 13, 2013, in Las Vegas. But two knee operations took her out of competition, including costing her a coaching gig on The Ultimate Fighter. She didn’t return to action until Sept. 27.
In her comeback fight with Amanda Nunes, she survived a bad beating in the first round. But Nunes faded at the end of the round. Zingano dominated the second round and finished Nunes with ground and pound early in round three. The performance put her back in line for a title shot. The shot was clinched when negotiations with Gina Carano about a possible return against Rousey fell through.