Thursday, April 18

9 Things Fans Should Know About Gina Carano’s MMA Career

Highlights

  • Transitioning from successful MMA career and into acting propelled Gina Carano to become a recognizable figure in entertainment.
  • Her journey from Muay Thai to MMA showcases her striking skills and paved the way for women in combat sports.
  • Despite not competing in over a decade, Carano’s legacy as a significant and influential pioneer in women’s MMA remains strong today.



Despite a short career in the realm of combat sports, Gina Carano is considered one of the most significant women in the history of mixed martial arts. She has not competed in professional MMA since 2009 but remains one of the most well-known and influential people in the MMA community.

Carano eventually transitioned full-time to acting and has established a successful career in the movie industry. She has appeared in many well-known movies including Fast & Furious 6 and Deadpool. She continues to act in movies, television, and gaming. Although she has been absent from professional MMA for over a decade, her influence and impact on women’s MMA are still apparent today.

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9 Her Career Started In Muay Thai

Gina Carano Was Introduced To The Sport By Kevin Ross


  • It’s challenging to locate footage of Carano’s Muay Thai bouts.
  • She honed her striking skills in Thailand.

Carano is predominantly known for her striking ability and entertaining Muay Thai style. Before competing in MMA, Carano began her combat sports career training Muay Thai. She was introduced to the sport by her then-boyfriend and quickly compiled an impressive 12-1-1 record. Her introduction to Muay Thai would later set the stage for her eventual MMA debut.

8 She Has Always Been An Athlete

Gina Carano VIP pre fight party

  • Her father Glenn Carano was a professional football player.

Carano does not come from a family of fighters and her father was a former professional football player. She predominantly played basketball throughout her youth and led her high school basketball team to a state title.


She also took part in volleyball and softball before being introduced to Muay Thai and eventually MMA several years later.

7 She Took Part In the First Ever Sanctioned MMA Female Bout In Nevada

Carano Impressed In Her MMA Debut

Winner

Loser

Event

Date

Round

Time

Location

Notes

Gina Carano

Leticia Pestova

World Extreme Fighting

June 10, 2006

1

0:38

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

First sanctioned women’s MMA bout

Part of Carano’s lore and popularity is her role in introducing women’s mixed martial arts to the combat sports community. She took part in the first-ever sanctioned MMA female bout in Nevada in 2006. She competed on a World Extreme Cage Fighting card and defeated Leticia Pestova by knockout in under a minute.


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This would set the stage up for her second professional bout several months later. She faced Rosi Sexton who was undefeated at the time and finished by knockout in round two.

6 She Started Off Her Pro Career 7-0

Gina Carano sports spectacular 2012

Result

Record

Opponent

Method

Event

Date

Round

Win

7–0

Kelly Kobold

Decision (unanimous)

EliteXC: Heat

October 4, 2008

3

Win

6–0

Kaitlin Young

TKO (doctor stoppage)

EliteXC: Primetime

May 31, 2008

2

Win

5–0

Tonya Evinger

Submission (rear-naked choke)

EliteXC: Uprising

September 15, 2007

1

Win

4–0

Julie Kedzie

Decision (unanimous)

EliteXC: Destiny

February 10, 2007

3

Win

3–0

Elaina Maxwell

Decision (unanimous)

Strikeforce: Triple Threat

December 8, 2006

3

Win

2–0

Rosi Sexton

KO (punch)

World Pro Fighting Championships 1

September 15, 2006

2

Win

1–0

Leiticia Pestova

KO (punches and elbows)

World Extreme Fighting

June 10, 2006

1


Carano only competed in professional MMA for three years. She started her career 7-0 which included impressive victories over Elaina Maxwell, Julie Kedzie, and Tonya Evinger.

Carano’s background in Muay Thai made her an exciting and entertaining fighter that fans would eagerly tune in to watch. She competed as both bantamweight and featherweight.

5 She Competed For The Inaugural Women’s Strikeforce Championship

Carano Was Up Against A Future All-Time Great

gina-carano vs Cris Cyborg press conference

  • Cyborg has five wins by knockout before fighting Carano.

After a perfect 7-0 record, Carano was scheduled to face Cris Cyborg for the inaugural women’s Strikeforce championship. Cyborg had compiled an 8-1 record and was considered one of the most devastating finishers in women’s MMA. Both Carano and Cyborg were two of the most well-known female fighters in the world.


Carano lost the fight by technical knockout in round one. She was utterly dominated throughout the entirety of the fight and gave up a major strength and size advantage to Cyborg. Carano did her best to absorb the powerful punches and kicks from Cyborg but eventually succumbed to the power of her opponent. This would be her final bout in professional MMA.

4 She Has Had Issues Making Weight

gina-carano-ufc-ibjja

  • Carano had her debut fight at batanweight.
  • She fought most of her career at featherweight.

Carano has had issues successfully making weight throughout her career. She missed weight in preparation for her fight against Kaitlin Young in EliteXC. In addition, she missed weight the first two times she weighed in for her fight against Kelly Kobold.


Unfortunately, for Carano, weight issues have always been a significant part of her MMA career and have led to criticism. Three of her eight professional bouts took place at catchweight.

3 She Was Scheduled To Fight In Strikeforce But Was Removed For Undisclosed Reasons

Carno Didn’t Get A Medical Situation Was Never Explained

Gina Carano strikeforce

  • Carano never formerly retired.

After suffering a devastating defeat courtesy of Cris Cyborg, Carano was slated to return to action in 2010. She was scheduled to face Sarah D’Alelio on June 18 at a Strikeforce event featured in Dallas. However, Carano was removed from the bout one day prior due to undisclosed reasons that was related to a medical condition.


2 A Fight Between Her And Ronda Rousey Was Planned

Carano Said The Rousey Fight Was “Very Serious”

  • Carano has a meeting with Dana White about the Rousey fight.
  • She hadn’t fought in almost ten years when the Rousey fight was offered.

Carano was actively entertaining a return to MMA throughout 2014. The UFC confirmed they were working to sign Carano but contract negotiations continued to be delayed. She also informed the public on Joe Rogan’s podcast that a fight between her and Ronda Rousey was being targeted for Q4 of 2014.

This fight would have taken place during Rousey’s dominant bantamweight title run and would have been a significant fight for women’s MMA. However, Carano never returned to MMA and the fight never happened. She explained that she didn’t have enough time to prepare because she was inactive and didn’t have a gym she felt comfortable training.


Carano Went On To Have A Succesful Hollywood Career

  • Carano stoked controversy for her political views.
  • She remains a popular figure in conservative circles.

Gina Carano’s accomplishments in MMA are unimpressive compared to legends such as Cris Cyborg, Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey, and Amanda Nunes. However, she was and is vastly popular in the MMA community due to her exciting style, charm, and good looks.

There was a time when Carano was one of the most searched athletes on the web and considered the face of women’s MMA. She currently spends her time furthering her acting career and remains a household name in not only MMA but in entertainment in general.

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