Despite the fact that most signs are pointing to the opposite, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stands by his prediction that women’s MMA superstar Gina “Conviction” Carano will be returning to the cage in 2011.
During a recent appearance on MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour with host Ariel Helwani, Coker relayed his belief with confidence, telling Helwani, “I believe she’ll be back in the cage this year.”
Carano became the face of women’s MMA during it’s period of emergence, due both to her striking looks and legitimate skill inside the cage. A member of the crew of savages that trains out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Carano built a 7-0 record before meeting current Strikeforce featherweight queenpin Cris “Cyborg” Santos in a title fight back in August of 2009. Carano held her own against the Brazilian wrecking machine in the early going, but succumbed to “Cyborg’s” overwhelming attack while still in the first round.
That TKO loss marks the last time that the viewing public has seen Carano in the cage, and Coker believes that the drive which pushed Carano to enter into MMA in the first place will lure her back into MMA competition before too long.
“From what I know of her, she is a competitor at heart; she’s going to want to fight,” he said. “She’s not going to want to end her career the way it ended. So, I think she’ll be back.”
Carano has followed in Xtreme Couture founder Randy “The Natural” Couture’s footsteps, having embarked on an acting career which she has parlayed into moderate mainstream success. Her most high-profile project is set to debut this year; in the Steven Soderbergh directed Haywire, Carano plays the lead character, a female spy, opposite the likes of Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas and Bill Paxton.
Despite the fact that her burgeoning acting career seems poised to take off, Coker still sees Carano’s true passion being MMA competition.
“This girl’s a real fighter. She’s not this actress that became a fighter. She’s a real fighter that became an actress,” Coker asserted. “So that fight is inside her.”
Haywire has finished filming and is expected to debut on April 22nd of this year.