Gina Carano explains why fight with Ronda Rousey never happened in UFC, confident she would have won (2024)

Gina Carano addresses the long rumored fight against former UFC champion Ronda Rousey and why the matchup never came together.

Women didn’t start fighting in the UFC until 2013 when Ronda Rousey made her debut against Liz Carmouche in a paradigm shift for the promotion after Dana White famously declared that females would never compete in his organization.

Despite that infamous proclamation, Gina Carano claims that White actually approached her years earlier with interest in having her join the UFC roster when she was undoubtedly the most famous women’s fighter on the planet. At that time, Carano was competing in Strikeforce and gearing up for a showdown with Cris Cyborg, which ultimately served as her final appearance in MMA back in 2009.

“Me and Dana [White] had a conversation right before I fought Cyborg, Dana and Lorenzo Fertitta had me into their office and basically they were like ‘we’d like you to come over and be our company’s first female fighter,’” Carano revealed on the PBD podcast. “I just couldn’t do that because I had my promises and my contract to Strikeforce.”

Following her loss to Cyborg, Carano ended up transitioning into acting on a full-time basis, which included a lead role in the film Haywire directed by Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh. Carano never officially retired and she says that conversations eventually heated up again for her to join the UFC roster after Rousey had become one of the faces of the organization.

Back in 2014, Carano expressed interest in making a comeback and that led to meetings with White about potentially signing for a fight against Rousey. White later claimed that Carano was “the hardest human being we’ve ever dealt with” and any hopes for a deal with the UFC essentially died on the vine.

Carano didn’t address the apparent difficulties she had striking a deal with the UFC, but she says what doomed her potential fight with Rousey really came down to White’s inability to keep quiet about the matchup as she attempted to get back in shape for a fight.

“I needed six months,” Carano explained. “Because first of all, weight cutting for me during that time I would struggle because all of the women were in the 135 [pound] weight division and I could get down to 145 but there was only twice in my career where I got down to 136 and 139 and that is like chopping off a leg for me. It was so difficult for me but that’s where all the women were at that time because there wasn’t a lot of women. I sat down with Dana and [said] I wish you guys would have approached me five years ago because I’ve been waiting for this so I just need some time and I need you to keep it quiet, Dana. Keep it really quiet because I didn’t have a gym. I would have to go [re-immerse] myself in a gym, which when I go in a gym people put cameras on me and you have to find and built your team and I wasn’t living in Las Vegas, which is where my team was. So I was living in L.A. and it would have been hard and I needed to rebuilt a team and do it right.

“Dana, and I love him now, he’s been amazing now but Dana’s Dana. He immediately started talking about it and it made my life very difficult to try and get to go into that.”

Whatever hope remained to book the fight effectively expired after Carano started getting more and more offers in Hollywood, which included a role in the smash-hit film Deadpool where she co-starred alongside Ryan Reynolds in the comic book adaptation.

“It is a very difficult thing to try and do both of those things at once,” Carano said about acting and fighting. “In my head, I’m just so passionate about the storytelling and the last couple years I’ve just been passionate about trying to get back into that.”

Obviously, the fight with Rousey never happened but Carano still feels confident she would have vanquished the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion if given the chance.

“I do, absolutely [believe I would have won],” Carano said. “Because I pack a hell of a punch. I know how she punches. I punch like a trucker. [She would have the edge] on the ground obviously but I’m scrambly.

“It’s no disrespect and I’m sure she would say the same thing that she would win, but that’s just something I know. After you’ve been punched like that, she got shook twice [by] Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm, I’m one of the hardest punchers that women’s mixed martial arts has ever seen.”

As confident as she would have been against Rousey in a fight, Carano still holds the UFC Hall of Famer in very high regard. Rousey often touted Carano as an inspiration for her entry into MMA and that’s something the now 41-year-old actor never forgot.

“Ronda has just been such a respectful [person], she was such a little s*** talker throughout her career, but the one person she didn’t really s*** talk was me, really,” Carano said. “She really always did give me that tribute. To have not made the walk in the UFC and gotten to fight, to have the person that did really break down those barriers, that is very special to me and I think she’s a very special person.

“I think she gets a really bad [reputation] and people like to paint her as the bad guy, just because she likes to play the heel. She doesn’t mind playing the heel. It’s just certain people’s personalities but I think when you look deeper at the person that she is, which I watch and I study people, I think that’s a very special, special person.”

Gina Carano explains why fight with Ronda Rousey never happened in UFC, confident she would have won (2024)


Gina Carano explains why fight with Ronda Rousey never happened in UFC, confident she would have won? ›

Carano didn't address the apparent difficulties she had striking a deal with the UFC, but she says what doomed her potential fight with Rousey really came down to White's inability to keep quiet about the matchup as she attempted to get back in shape for a fight. “I needed six months,” Carano explained.

Why did Ronda Rousey stop fighting in UFC? ›

Ronda Rousey, one of the most influential stars in UFC history, revealed this week that she retired from mixed martial arts primarily because of a history of concussions.

What happened to Ronda Rousey? ›

Rousey had a quiet departure from WWE after losing an "MMA Rules" match to her longtime friend and fellow UFC alum Shayna Baszler at SummerSlam in 2023. She subsequently wrestled two matches elsewhere -- including one in Ring of Honor -- teaming with MMA fighter-turned-pro wrestler Marina Shafir.

Why is Ronda Rousey so important? ›

Rousey was part of the company's first female fight at UFC 157, was their inaugural Women's Bantamweight Champion, and held the record for most UFC title defenses (6) by a female, until being surpassed by Valentina Shevchenko in 2022.

How did Ronda Rousey lose in UFC? ›

Rousey was the undefeated women's bantamweight champion, and many believed she was unbeatable. However, Holm, a former professional boxer and kickboxer, delivered a stunning knockout blow to Rousey in the second round of their fight at UFC 193, ending her reign as champion.

What ended Ronda Rousey's UFC career? ›

Ronda Rousey says that a history of concussions put an end to her mixed martial arts career. Before she came one of the biggest stars in UFC history, Rousey excelled in judo, winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Who trained Ronda Rousey? ›

Edmond Tarverdyan is an Armenian mixed martial arts (MMA) trainer who co-owns the Glendale Fighting Club in Glendale, California. He has trained former UFC Bamtamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, Travis Browne, Jake Ellenberger, boxer Art Hovhannisyan and Edmen Shahbazyan.

How much does Ronda Rousey weigh? ›

How rich is Ronda Rousey? ›

Financial Success and Business Ventures. Rousey's financial success is evident from her substantial net worth of $14 million. Her multi-deal contract with WWE has significantly contributed to her wealth, with her salary reportedly reaching $1.5 million, making her one of the highest-paid female stars in the industry.

How long did Ronda Rousey hold the belt? ›

In 2012, Rousey signed with UFC and became the first ever female UFC champion. She continued to literally kick ass and take names, defending her title six times and holding on to her belt for over 3 years. Her win streak ended in 2015, when Rousey lost to Holly Holm in the second round.

Who taught Ronda Rousey judo? ›

Gene LeBell

Is Ronda Rousey a good fighter? ›

But just because Rousey wasn't the very best doesn't mean she didn't matter a whole lot. In fact, there's a very strong argument to be made that Rousey is the most important fighter in the history of women's MMA, and maybe in all of women's fight sports.

Is Ronda Rousey retiring? ›

Rousey, who was a WWE entertainer from 2018-2023 after she retired from the UFC, said that even after she retired, publicly discussing her history of concussions would have jeopardized her spot in the wrestling entertainment organization.

How long was Ronda Rousey in the UFC? ›

Ronda Rousey (2012-2015) After being announced as the UFC women's bantamweight champion, Rousey's first defense would be against Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157 (2/13/2013). (Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Rousey and Carmouche would make history that night by becoming the first women to ever compete in the UFC.

Is Ronda Rousey still a fighter? ›

Now, Rousey, 37, is opening up about the tough loss, which came one year after her first-ever defeat at the hands of Holly Holm, and her subsequent sudden departure from the sport in her second memoir, Our Fight, released on Tuesday.

Who is Ronda Rousey's husband? ›

Browne attended the 2019 WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony with his wife, Ronda Rousey, who was working with WWE.

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