The Story Of “Alpha” Cat Zingano.
Article courtesy of Hanna Davis of MMA Freaks.
From the depths of despair some choose to give up, others find the strength, courage, and resilience to conquer all before them. This is the story of Cat Zingano.
The Rise of an Alpha.
Cathilee Deborah Albert was born on July 1, 1982 in Winona, Minnesota. She began her combat sports career in wrestling at the age of just 12 while attending high school at Fairview in Boulder, Colorado. She went to college at both the university of Cumberlands in 2001 where she was on the Macmurray college wrestling team and became a 4 time all American and national champion. After competing in wrestling she was introduced to Brazilian jiu jitsui in 2007 where she competed and won many tournaments such as the world championship Mundials in Los Angeles and the Rio De Janiro state championships in Brazil? After a few active months of BJJ in October of 2007 she entered her first ever amateur mixed martial arts fight? In that moment Cat knew that MMA was going to be something special in her life. In 2008 she became the Ring of Fure woman’s champion in her MMA debut on June 13, 2008. She defeated Karina Taylor via submission in round 1 via armbar.
Females in the UFC?
In 2013 Cat married BJJ black belt Mauricio Zingano who was also her longtime trainer and coach? They formed a gym together in Broomfield, Colorado called Zingano BJJ. Cat and her husband also have a son together Brayden Zingano. Everything was changing so quick. Females were going to be allowed to fight in the UFC remembering when Ronda Rousey fought Liz Carmouche solidifying the first ever woman’s UFC fight inside the octagon. 2013 was a big year for Cat Zingano with a record of 8-0 she fought former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate making her the second female fight to ever take place in the UFC. Not only was that an intense moment for Cat she was also down on the score cards as Miesha Tate comes charging in and suddenly Cat finds herself being out wrestled for half their fight as the bell rings in round 2. Miesha Tate uses Cats face to push herself up to walk back to her corner. It was a pivotal moment for Cat Zingano and suddenly something inside her felt personal in the third round. Cat came back and finished Miesha with devastating knees dropping her to the canvas and walking away knowing she made her moment count. Cat Zingano won via TKO. It was the first stoppage ever in a woman’s fight and earned fight of the night? Celebrating in her corner Cat embraced her husband (and coach) and let out a relieving scream. She knew she was next to challenge Ronda Rousey for the bantamweight gold.
When a tragedy hits.
After Cat defeated Miesha Tate she was asked to coach against Ronda Rousey on TUF 18 but she faced a horrific injury in her knee where she had to have surgery on her ACL and was sidelined for a year and a half losing her title shot against the queen of the bantamweights Ronda Rousey. Miesha Tate, however, ended up coaching against Ronda rousey but Cat was in attendance at UFC 168 where she saw Rousey beat Tate for the second time unfortunately still sidelined and out of competition ca knew it was just a matter of time before it was her time once again…during her healing process with her knee her personal life seemed to take a bit of a turn where she noticed her husband wasn’t acting the same one afternoon cat had taken her son to meet up with his father Mauricio in a mall parking lot where Cat had waited for hours for him to show but he never did…cat knew something wasn’t right she knew that he would never forget to pick up their son and that it wasn’t like him to be late… upon returning to their home cat had noticed an ambulance and police cars in confusion and shock cat asked what was going on this is my house I live here! She shortly found out that her husband had committed suicide from the cause of painkillers cat was prescribed for her serious knee injury. Mauricio was only 37.
After Cat and her family faced a devastating loss of her husband and sons father she knew the only thing she could do was go up from here she had to find some way to figure it all. Cat ended up losing her gym she had with her husband and suddenly found herself building from the ground up again and formed a new home in Broomfield Colorado where she was healthy of all injuries and ready to start training but sadly with a new team all tho it was challenging and fearful cat eneded up returning to the UFC after her tragedy loss and injury that kept her inactive she returned at UFC 178 in Las Vegas Nevada to challenge what is now the woman’s champion Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes but at the time Amanda was a contender as well as Cat to earn the next spot to challenge for Rousey’s belt in the opening rounds cat started off slow similar to her fight with Miesha Tate she was out wrestled and found herself spending the entire 1st round on her back just trying to survive the storm of Amanda’s ground and pound cat was eating shots left and right and suddenly saved by the bell as the 2nd round approached cat once again found herself on her back but this time she hung in there and Amanda and her found themselves in a scramble where Amanda started to attack what was once cats injured knee and cat again found herself in familiar waters feeling territorial over what she had to protect as the bell sounded and both fighters went back to their corners cat sat on the stool for the first time without her husband in her corner giving her advice and coaching her through adversity cat had to listen to a whole new team and pay attention to words from brand new faces she knew she was down and had to secure in a finish to win this fight and the bell sounds and round 3 begins Cat came out and clinched with Amanda and performing a big throw where Cat suplexed her onto the canvas and proceeded to full mount cat knew when she felt Amanda’s energy when they clinched that she was tired and cat felt the quit in her and started raining down on Amanda with elbows and short ground and pound leaving Amanda bloodied and defeated the referee called the fight and an emotional Cat Zingano walked back to her corner and celebrated her win with her new coaches and team…feeling a wave of emotions cat felt bittersweet she had overcome so much in such a short time with losing her chance at Ronda Rousey and seeing the woman she defeated (Miesha Tate) take her place on TUF, suffering from her knee injury and dealing with the tragic death of her husband there cat was getting her hand raised after fighting the hardest of adversity life had to throw at her she stood there proud and knew it was her time and in that moment she knew she was next to face champion Rowdy Ronda Rousey.
The Uncrowned Champ
There was a lot of hype entering her title fight with Ronda Rousey exactly 3 years ago today February 28, 2015, at the staples center in Las Vegas Nevada Cat walked into her title fight with a perfect undefeated record of 9-0 with a combined record with Rousey’s undefeated streak adds up to 18-0 inside the locked octagon they shared to secure each other’s dominance. There was a lot of talk from the fans and also media outlets that cat zingano was a slow starter and that she would have to figure something out to shake up rousey’s game plan being how aggressive and strong Ronda is inside the cage being a bronze gold medalist in the Olympics in judo and winning all her fights via rd 1 arm bar submission cat was not intimidated and also has some high end credentials underneath her being a high purple belt in Bjj and having the long term wrestling experience thought it would be Rondas toughest challenge to date. Entering fight camp cat felt rejuvenated and refreshed and ready to finally win what she felt belonged to her the entire time the crown that is the bantamweight championship that Ronda holds. Cat always trained in Denver Colorado for her fights so nothing changed as far as traveling or relocating gyms. Denver has always been home to her as camp comes to an end and weighs in approach cat feels excited to go out and finally come face to face with the champion. A woman she’s earned to face years before has finally come to happen and they face off cat feels her energy and reads what lies beneath the eyes and she feels calm, focused, alive and Joe Rogan asks her how she is feeling after a long time coming and cat simply responds with “watch this” naturally fight fans around the world are buzzing patiently waiting for fight night not knowing the out come would be what it was Cat Zingano rushed in with a flying knee forcing Ronda to react quickly and they clinched up and Ronda took her down and reached for the arm and secured the submission and before you blink you see cat tap from feeling the horrendous pain of the lethal Rousey armbar Cat comes to her knees and hangs her head what we all thought would be a ride to stardom and UFC history was brought to an abrupt end in just 14 seconds.
Taking a leap of faith.
After her devastating loss to Ronda Rousey at UFC 184 Cat took a lengthy amount of time off. A year and a half to be exact but in that time growth was born. A fire was found and planted underneath cats feet and she picked herself up after losing what seemed to be it all once again, she picked up her son and their dog left her gym in Denver Colorado and traded in the mountains for the water where she found new direction and wisdom at Alliance MMA in San Diego California under head master Eric Del Fierro who is also former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz head coach…also some familiar faces that cat will train with is featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens for her upcoming fight at infamous UFC 200 against undefeated bantamweight the Venezuelan vixen Julianna Pena. It was a high moment for the UFC as the canvas was spread out in gold felt Cat Zingano fought hard for 3 rounds performing some high-end technical throws but unfortunately she was controlled on the mat and just dominated on the ground forcing her to lose against a more experienced grappler and active fighter Cat suffered a unanimous decision loss and clapped her hands humbled in defeat for her opponents victory.
The Vision is Victory.
Cat Zingano alerted the social media world via her Instagram account on January 23, 2018, that she would be fighting bantamweight contender Ketlen Vieira. Once being an undefeated fighter herself cat has to test her skills and mentality against the Brazilian finisher. Coming into this fight with yet again taking another long lay off cat addressed certain injuries and personal issues she didn’t want addressed in the media at the time but says she is as healthy as ever and at her 100% best nobody can beat her so it’s safe to say that regardless of coming off of 2 loses cats mentality is as strong as ever believing she is the best bantamweight in the world to date with having victories over previous former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate and current bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes she is certain to getting back on the winning side and earning her way to secure a title shot against the woman she once defeated but first cat can’t overlook her opponent having finished her last opponent via submission in round 2 against Sara McMann being as active as she is Ketlen has that as an advantage on her side of the upcoming bout this weekend but what Ketlen doesn’t have as far as Cat Zingano is concerned is the heart of the fiercest feline as there can only be one “Alpha” Cat Zingano has the will to break her opponent down and make them quit as we’ve seen in her past previous bout cat is coming into this fight with another full training camp at Alliance MMA with all of the new things she had learned such as her trip to Thailand her and her son went to so cat could train and learn the beautiful roots of the art of 8 limbs Muay Thai. She also went and visited the troops overseas and showed off her leg kicks to a few of our military soldiers. Confidence is something cat has always had to maintain in her life and that’s what makes her a tough strong-willed mixed martial artist she knows how to fight adversity and remain hopeful in defeats and stay humble crossing rocky roads. With a win over Ketlen, this could potentially have the MMA world buzzing of a Nunes vs Zingano 2 matchup. With weigh-ins nearing we will see what type of weight cut cat had as she is a bigger 135er in her looming fight. Can she advance to 10-2 with a dominating performance or will she fall to 9-3 this Saturday on PPV Being the third fight on the main card being aired in Las Vegas Nevada? Stay tuned freaks.