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Gina Carano Expected to Return to Strikeforce This Year

Gina CaranoStrikeforce women’s middleweight Gina Carano has been absent from the cage since her loss at the hands of current women’s middleweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos in August 2009.

That’s been unfortunate for fans of the popular 28-year old as well as Strikeforce itself.

The San Jose-based promotion has had few true drawing cards since producing its first MMA event in 2006. Those include Frank Shamrock and Cung Le in the early years of the promotion, and heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko more recently.

Carano was the one with the most potential, though.

The woman known as much for her dazzling looks as her skill in the cage was well on her way to becoming an MMA star, with two EliteXC events on CBS anchored by the star power of Carano and Kimbo Slice proving that.

When EliteXC folded, Strikeforce looked to take advantage of Carano’s previous primetime exposure.

After Strikeforce finally put together the much hyped fight between Carano and Cyborg to determine the first ever women’s middleweight champion, though, Carano experienced her first loss when “Cyborg” battered her with strikes and earned a TKO victory in the first round.

That would be Carano’s first and last fight with Strikeforce.

Instead of immediately getting back to training, the Xtreme Couture fighter decided to put her fight career on hold and focus on her debut in acting.

Carano’s first major motion picture, Haywire, is expected to be released in April. The movie is directed by Steven Soderbergh and also stars Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas and Ewan McGregor.

Much to the chagrin of Scott Coker, Carano has yet to compete again under the Strikeforce banner, but the Strikeforce CEO told MMAFighting he “believes she’ll be back in the cage this year.”

Even with a leading role alongside established Hollywood personalities, Coker believes that Carano still has the desire to compete in the cage.

“From what I know of her, she is a competitor at heart; she’s going to want to fight. She’s not going to want to end her career the way it ended. So, I think she’ll be back,” Coker stated. “This girl’s a real fighter. She’s not this actress that became a fighter. She’s a real fighter that became an actress. So that fight is inside her.”

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