One of the more peculiar aspects of MMA is just how insular many fighters tend to be when it comes to actually looking at their opponents and how they fight. There are some dedicated tape studies among the ranks of MMA competitors, but many fighters choose to actively ignore their opponent, to let their coaches do the studying and bring that knowledge into their training.
To a degree, that makes more sense than you might first think. It promotes a dance-with-the-one-who-brought-you mentality. Fighters spend their careers honing a style uniquely their own. A game they feel comfortable in, and a game they want to be able to impose on any opponent they face, no matter what skills that opponent may have. That's the best possible way to look at a fighter having their blinders on going into a fight. But, sometimes it really does pay to know at least a few things about what your opponent has to offer.
That kind of has to be the takeaway from Cat Zinagno's recent interview with ESPN, where she talked about her fight with Ronda Rousey and whether she has any regret as to her stratagy.
"I stand by my decision," Zingano said about her strategy in the fight. "Throughout the week, every time I saw Ronda we would shake hands and she would say, 'Come on, let's do this. Let's put on an epic fight.' I was thinking, 'I don't want to talk to her. I don't want to be friends with her. At some point, I'm planning on being on top of this girl and I don't want to care what I'm doing to her.'
"But she kept saying things like that so I said, 'OK, let's do this.' What better way to put on an epic fight than a flying knee? I expected us to continue to fight. I didn't realize we were going to do a jiu-jitsu match where I'm flying at her and all of a sudden she's going for my arm again. I guess that's one disappointment I had. If I had known she was going to be going for my arms, I would have gone about it differently. I agreed to her kind of fight instead of my kind of fight, and that won't happen again."
I mean, I guess forewarned is forearmed. Hopefully this new understanding of Ronda Rousey's BJJ skills will give Zingano a better path to victory if she can fighter her way back to a rematch in the near future.