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Cat Zingano Anxiously Awaits to Challenge Cris Cyborg for Bellator Featherweight Title

Details about the inevitable championship bout remain scarce, but Zingano is laser-focused on her shot against the reigning women’s featherweight champion

Cat Zingano is ready to return to the cage.

Riding a two-fight win streak, Zingano (12-4) is seeking championship gold. She defeated Olivia Parker last April at Bellator 256, putting herself in position for a title shot. Bellator President Scott Coker recently shared with MMA Junkie that Zingano is next in line to fight the great Cris Cyborg, the reigning women’s featherweight champion. While not yet official, that fight appears to be occurring soon.

“I have asked for Cris a bunch of times and she has asked for me a bunch of times,” Zingano said. “I know I have a confirmed date on March 11. I don’t have an opponent or a location, but we did agree upon that date. That’s what I am training for and excited for. I would like to know the details, but right now we’re talking.”

Zingano is one of the more compelling personalities in MMA. She is featured on a new episode of Whistle's Double Duty, detailing the way she balances her career with motherhood, which are roles that changed after she lost her husband, Mauricio Zingano, in 2014. Yet she tapped into an incredible strength and courage, one that has allowed her to be a phenomenal parent and remain a world-class mixed martial artist.

“Being a parent is hard,” Zingano said. “So much of it is learning as we go, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this project. I’m fiercely protective of those I love, but I love to share my world, too. And I am so excited about being my son’s mom. My son saved my life, he is my north star.

“It can be difficult to be a mom and train. I want to be the balance-maker between athlete and parent as I possibly can be. But I have a son I love, and we are healthy. I have a job I love. Yes, I also have problems, but I am inspired by people that keep going. So when I get the chance to do that for other people, it is a big thing that I always want to do.”

Cat Zingano.

Cat Zingano.

Up until last month, Zingano stood out as the last person to defeat Amanda Nunes in the Octagon. That TKO victory took place at UFC 178 in 2014. Following that loss, Nunes then blazed a remarkable trail, winning her next 12 fights in dominating fashion. That streak ended in December when Julianna Peña forced Nunes to tap, becoming the first fighter to beat her since Zingano.

“It bummed me out a bit because I still have this desire to be the one that also gets to go back to fight Amanda and beat her again,” said Zingano, showing off her competitive spirit. “But it was a great fight.”

Zingano remains committed and devoted to growing the sport. She has two more fights on her current Bellator deal, and her decision to leave UFC and instead sign with Bellator illustrated that top fighters have options in MMA.

“I love Bellator,” Zingano said. “I’m treated right, paid fairly, and we have a deep division at 145. It’s hard-hitting, slugging mamas. I still think about UFC because I feel like I have unfinished business there, but I am happy to be here and fight this deep division of badass women.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.