Cat Zingano ‘always looking for blood,’ which she found in grueling Bellator 293 win vs. Leah McCourt

MMA News
Cat Zingano ‘always looking for blood,’ which she found in grueling Bellator 293 win vs. Leah McCourt

TEMECULA, Calif. – Cat Zingano is a trailblazer of women’s MMA and with that comes a tough mindset when she steps in the cage.

“I don’t get in here for fun. I don’t get in here just to participate. Like, I really want to win,” Zingano told reporters, including MMA Junkie, after Bellator 293 on Friday. “Part of winning means you have to hurt people, you have to cause damage. I’m always looking for those cuts. I’m always looking for blood. I feel like a shark when that happens. There are moments that I honestly can say I take personally in there. If someone does something to me in front of all these people, I want to get them back.”

That mentality served Zingano (14-4 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) well in the night’s co-main event at Pechanga Resort Casino, where she earned a grueling unanimous decision win over Leah McCourt (7-3 MMA, 6-2 BMMA), who gave the former UFC women’s bantamweight title challenger all she could handle in a back-and-forth fight full of wild grappling sequences.

McCourt had a noticeable height and size advantage in the featherweight fight, and Zingano felt that. for 15 minutes.

“It was a very big adjustment for me, her being so tall,” Zingano said. “I felt like, as I was trying to throw these kicks at her, I was aiming above even my head, because she was so much taller than me. That kind of made it weird from my stance and my posture and taking my feet out from underneath.”

Even though McCourt had her moments on top of Zingano, they weren’t as impactful – both literally and figuratively. Unlike McCourt, Zingano was able to inflict major damage, which showed on McCourt’s face after she was left with welt under her left eye and gash on her forehead that leaked blooed after the third round concluded.

“I knew I did a lot more damage than her,” Zingano said. “When she got into good positions, she kind of just held position. She didn’t really do anything with it. And then when I got into good positions, I did a lot of damage.”

Now Zingano finds herself in prime position to compete for the Bellator 145-pound title. According to Zingano, her fight with McCourt originally was pitched as a vacant title fight, something that Bellator president Scott Coker denies was ever considered.

The reason for the uncertainty is that champion Cris Cyborg only remains under contract with Bellator during an exclusive negotiating period after she fought out her deal last year. In Zingano’s ideal word, she would fight Cyborg for the belt within the next six months.

Now 40, she’s not trying to look too far beyond that.

“I mean, it’s punch by punch, fight by fight, breath by breath at this point,” Zingano said. “I like what I’m doing. I’m still having fun, and I’m still good at it. That’s where it’s at.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 293.

Cat Zingano ‘always looking for blood,’ which she found in grueling Bellator 293 win vs. Leah McCourt