Before turning her attention to the glamorous world of Hollywood, Gina Carano was the flagbearer of women's MMA. Alongside the likes of Cris Cyborg and Ronda Rousey, Carano is also credited for being a driving force behind women's MMA gaining mainstream popularity.
Since her fight against Cyborg in 2009, Gina Carano has never stepped inside a cage. Instead, she focused on her acting career by appearing in several films and television shows over the years. Carano's turn as Cara Dune in the popular Star Wars spinoff series The Mandalorian on Disney+ was widely appreciated by audiences across the globe. However, though Gina Carano is now best-known to many as an actress, her legacy in MMA remains, and she is respected by many female fighter the world over.
Gina Carano didn't plan on taking up MMA as a profession but chanced upon the sport. In the early 2000s, she was dating Muay Thai fighter, Kevin Ross. Ross was training with renowned instructor Master Toddy, who has trained the likes of Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, and Chuck Liddell. Carano accompanied Ross to training sometimes and it was then that she was approached by one of the other trainers.
Though she started training to lose weight and become fitter, Gina took a liking to the sport instantly. The rest, as they say, is history. In 2006, Gina Carano made history by competing in the first-ever sanctioned female MMA bout in Nevada where she earned herself a TKO victory in just 38 seconds. Gina Carano then went on to compete in the first-ever female fight in Strikeforce and picked up a unanimous decision victory over Elaina Maxwell. She was also a part of the first-ever female fight aired on Showtime for EliteXC.
Gina Carano entered the cage for the biggest fight of her career in August 2009 against Cris Cyborg. The fight also turned out to be her last before she switched to acting completely. The fight is famous because it was the first-ever female scrap that headlined a major MMA pay-per-view event. Strikeforce even created its first women's title for the bout. The Carano-Cyborg fight changed the world's perception of women's MMA and brought it mainstream credibility.
Gina Carano came close to stepping inside the Octagon in 2011
The outcome of the fight wasn't in favor of Carano though, as she suffered the first loss of her professional career. Cyborg TKO'd her in the last second of the first round to pick up a monumental victory on a monumental night. Gina Carano finished her pro fighting career with a 7-1 record.
In 2011, Gina Carano was close to returning to MMA as she was in talks with the UFC after the promotion acquired Strikeforce in 2011. There were still a few fights remaining on Gina's contract with Strikeforce and Dana White tried to bring back the fighter-turned-actress for a blockbuster meeting against Ronda Rousey. However, the fight never materialized and Gina Carano hasn't expressed the desire to compete again.Published 21 Dec 2020, 20:29 IST