While rumors that she could be fighting Ronda Rousey as soon as this summer were quickly (and deservedly) quashed, there's still every chance that fight fans could see a return to MMA and a trip to the UFC in the future of the former face of women's MMA. Carano recently gave an interview to Fox Sports, talking about her upcoming movie roles in The Fast and the Furious 9 and In the Blood, but she had more to say than just plugging her film career. She also talked about the potential for making a return to MMA competition. Dana White has already gone on record to say that the UFC would be happy to welcome Carano, and I believe they hold the rights to her old Strikeforce contract.
Here's what she had to say about talk of her return:
"I don't mind it at all. I've never retired. I've never officially said that," Carano said. "For some reason a part of me has always kept it open. I don't know, there's a certain part of me that thinks if circumstances were right, and I could keep doing what I'm trying to make my future into, that's an ideal world. If circumstances were right, you never know. I'm very open to it."
"I feel like I can't say too much. I've got all this information that if I could just speak freely, this is actually what's going on," Carano teased. "I wish I could open up my mind and tell you exactly the things that I've seen and the conversations that I've had, but I think to sum it up in a nice, safe way for me is if circumstances were right, and if it's a good enough circumstance (I would come back) because my first love is MMA.
She also spoke about the changing culture of women's MMA:
"When I was fighting, I feel kind of ancient sometimes, because I'm like oh my gosh that's not the way it was! It was hard to walk in the gym and have another woman to train with and now it's like they have groups of females that train together and there's so many good females out there. They've all been really positive and I really appreciate Cris Cyborg saying that and Ronda saying that (they would like me to come back), it makes me feel really kind of warm," Carano said about a potential return.
"I'm more of a fan of MMA now than I've ever been. I'm saying if the circumstance was right, I'd definitely consider it. If the circumstance were right."
There's a lot more in there about her time in the sport as well as her upcoming films, so check out the whole thing. And while an immediate return to MMA might not be in the cards, Carano is in the rare position of not only having a name value and a lot of experience, but of not being dependent on her athletic career for financial support. IF she wanted to take her time and re-dedicate herself to MMA, she could probably do so with a lot better training environment than many of her contemporaries. A year or two from now, it's not at all unreasonable to think we might see Carano in the UFC.