The former No. 1 contender for Ronda Rousey’s UFC women’s bantamweight title will make her return to the cage at UFC 178 in Las Vegas on September 27. Cat Zingano (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who has been out of action since defeating Miesha Tate at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale in April 2013, will take on Amanda Nunes (9-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC) in the Octagon when the UFC returns to the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Kevin Iole from Yahoo Sports first reported the news.
After earning a coaching spot opposite Ronda Rousey on the 18th season of TUF, Zingano was forced off the show with a knee injury and was replaced by Tate, who also filled in for Zingano against Rousey at UFC 168 in December, losing by third-round armbar.
The injury wasn’t the only thing that kept Zingano sidelined, as she has also had to deal with the suicide of her husband, Mauricio Zingano earlier this year. The 31-year-old returned to training back in May and has been anxious to step back inside the Octagon.
It makes sense that, despite Zingano’s No. 1 contender status, she gets another fight under her belt before mixing it up with the ultra dominant Rousey, who just made quick work of highly touted Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Alexis Davis at UFC 175. She isn’t exactly getting a tune-up fight in the Brazilian Amanda Nunes, who has finished both of her UFC fights with first-round TKOs.
Should Alpha Cat get past Nunes, she would most likely be the next challenger for the women’s bantamweight title, as there are no clear-cut standouts in the division, and the UFC has yet to sign either Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino or Gina Carano to vie for Rousey’s title.
UFC 178 is headlined by Jones vs. Gustafsson II and also features the return of former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, who is returning after a three-year layoff from the sport.