‘What’s going on with your Strikeforce contract?’ ‘When are you going to fight again?’ ‘Do you think you are going to fight Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos this year?’ Those questions follow female MMA superstar Gina Carano around as much as the pimply-faced horomonal teenage boys do.
Outside of her risque photo in Maxim Magazine’s March edition, Carano has been living quietly under the radar. She hasn’t fought since womanhandling Kelly Kobald at EliteXC: Heat this past October, and hasn’t said much after Strikeforce acquired her rights from the financially challenged ProElite in February.
“I’ve spent a little time by myself, just detoxing,” Carano said of her temporary low-key status. “I don’t always have to be in the spotlight – maybe get some other girls out there. I’ve been taking some time with myself to keep my head straight.”
Just because she hasn’t been fighting inside of the cage doesn’t mean she hasn’t been scrapping and clawing outside of it. Carano was one of the 40 fighter contracts acquired in Strikeforce’s purchase of ProElite. While most of the other fighters allowed their contracts to transition over smoothly, Carano felt that it was time to renegotiate her deal.
“I just had to weigh some options,” stated Carano. “I’m making these decisions, so nobody else is going to make these decisions for me. I have to make them, and so we’re going to get something figured out and I’ll be fighting.
“I pray about it and see what would be a good move for my career, and I just know that no matter what, any fight from here is going to be a big fight, and a tough one. Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”
Once Carano and Strikeforce are able to come to terms, it will be a “Cyborg,” not a storm that will be headed her way, as the world’s second-best female mixed martial artist is already making herself at home with the San Jose, California-based organization.
Santos is slated to take on Hitomi Akano at Strikeforce’s 2009 debut, “Shamrock vs. Diaz,” on April 11th. It may be a warm-up bout for the scrap that everyone is excited to see.
“It’s gonna happen,” said Carano of the highly anticipated fight between her and the Brazilian. “Actually, (she’s) the only person I can think about right now. My focus is on her, and I don’t really want to fight anybody else but her. Let’s do it.
“Both of us want to make it happen, and it’s probably going to happen this year.”
Carano’s name, but more notably her supermodel-face, have become synonymous with women’s MMA, so she understands that her role in developing that niche is more significant than most.
Although she is the sport’s biggest star, she says that fans need to be ready because there are a plenty more where she came from.
“I see it continually blowing up,” she said. “There’s a lot of talented girls that people haven’t met yet. There’s so many faces for these people to fall in love with. It’s exciting, because I got to be [here since] the beginning when it started getting popular, and I’m just so blessed. I know so many girls out there that are good. So I’m just blessed to be a part of it.”