Plenty of female mixed martial artists entered the cage before Ronda Rousey became a household name. No one fighter more popular than one Gina Carano.
Like Rousey, Carano was seen as the face of women’s MMA — dominating just about every opponent to step in the cage with her. She wasn’t quite as big of a star as Rousey was, nor was she finishing her fights quite as quickly as the “Rowdy” one, but Carano has a good idea of what it’s like to fall off the pedestal the world had placed her on.
“My heart truly does feel for Ronda,” Carano recently told FOX Sports. “I know what it’s like to get beat, on a very public scale and not do even 25-percent of what you know you can. I know what it’s like to want to do so damn good for all the people who found inspiration in your life and what you’ve done and almost want to do it more for them than yourself.
“I hope she surrounds herself with love and light to heal the brokenness she might feel. It can only make her better in every way if she allows it.”
Carano went undefeated from 2006-08, defeating seven of the best female MMA fighters competing at the time. She’d go on to lose a first-round TKO to Cris “Cyborg” Justino in 2009, in what would become Carano’s final MMA contest before pursuing a film career full-time.
In a similar situation, Rousey trounced 12 straight opponents before suffering a second-round TKO to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November. UFC officials maintain Rousey will receive an immediate rematch against Holm at UFC 200 in July, but not before the former women’s bantamweight champion films two movies.