UFC president Dana White refuted rumors this week that former Strikeforce champion Gina Carano was booked to return to MMA and face UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey. UFC commentator Joe Rogan teased supposedly seismic additions coming to the UFC's female roster during a recent radio interview and since that time speculation has included Carano as the next opponent for Rousey.
“[Rogan] blew my whole week with that interview,” White said.
“There’s nothing done as far as [Rousey's] next opponent.”
That said, White would absolutely welcome Carano to the UFC. After all, she's a huge star and is still under contract with Zuffa, the UFC's parent company.
“If [Carano] wanted to fight in the UFC, of course,” White said.
“If Gina Carano wanted to fight in the UFC, we would definitely do it.”
When Zuffa purchased Strikeforce, Carano's was one of the contracts they obtained. When the fighter went on hiatus after her 2009 loss to Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino, her contract stayed intact should she ever return to fighting, according to White.
“When you go on a hiatus, whether you’re injured or semi-retired, you’re still under contract,” he explained.
“If you come back, you’re still under contract with us. So she is under contract with us, but I have no plans right now.”
For her part, Carano's latest film is set to hit theaters on April 4. Starring in the lead role of 'In the Blood', the mixed martial arts veteran plays a 'tough, no-nonsense' female protagonist on a mission to find her husband, who went missing on their honeymoon.
Should Carano return to fighting and compete in the UFC, one would imagine that they'd have to place her in a catchweight super fight with the likes of Rousey, or that the UFC would need to add more divisions. Currently, the UFC has a 135-pound women's division and is adding a 115-pound women's division next with a coming Ultimate Fighter season.
Carano competed in MMA at 145 pounds and often had trouble making that weight in the past. White did not comment on what weight he'd expect Carano to compete at if she ever decided to return to action.
One would imagine that the UFC would be willing to do whatever it took to bring someone with the fame of Carano into the fold, however. The UFC did not have any women's divisions just over a year ago but, because of White's interest in promoting Rousey, they now have two.