Cat Zingano has defied a lot of critics during her UFC career. When Zingano debuted in the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter 17 finale against Miesha Tate, very few expected her to be victorious, the oddsmakers made her a +135 underdog and their predictions seemed sound in the early going as Tate looked to have the better of Zingano winning the first two rounds, but Zingano defied the odds in the third round and pulled off a come-from-behind finish over the former Strikeforce champion.
Zingano's warrior spirit impressed all that night back in 2013; the grit that she showed in pursuit of the finish has been a regular trait in her fights in the UFC thus far. Regardless of how the judges' score cards read, Zingano's pursuit of the finish is relentless, and this hasn't gone unnoticed by Team Ronda Rousey.
When asked by MMAFighting.com to describe Cat Zingano in one word, Rousey's head coach Edmond Tarverdyan was quick to sum it up.
"Desperate fighter, I would say. One word would be desperate," Tarverdyan said. "She's always looking for that win and she just all of a sudden, she walks in there and throws a flying knee or a kick. Everything she does, she's desperate for it. When people are losing a little bit and they want to do something to get that win at the end to survive in there and get that victory, I feel like she does that every second. So that makes her a bit dangerous.
"She just somehow wants to win," he said. "Does she think? Does she set it up the way it's supposed to be? Is she an intelligent fighter? I would say not that. But she is very dangerous."
In Cat Zingano, Ronda Rousey faces a stiff test, the mix of knockout power and a solid ground game could give the longtime champion trouble, but Tarverdyan sees a very obvious hole in Zingano's game: her propensity to throw caution to the wind and fight emotionally in the first round.
"She's walking in there so emotional and that could be a reason why she's a little different in the first round," Tarverdyan said. "She gets those down and becomes a bit normal, back to what she's good at. That's why she performs better in the second and third round. It's pretty cool that she has that comeback spirit. But why it's like that, it's their job to work on that and it doesn't really matter for us. You can be the best in the first round and Ronda is still gonna get the best of you."
It remains to be seen if Zingano will be able to channel her emotions and come out strong against Rousey in the first round, but one thing is for certain, Rousey has made a career of capitalizing on her opponent's early mistakes and has finished nine of her ten wins within the first round.