(Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)UFC 182: Can Cat Zingano Actually Beat Ronda Rousey? RJ Gardner October 24, 2014 Spotlight In a recent report, UFC President, Dana White confirmed that UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey will defend her title against undefeated challenger, Cat Zingano at UFC 182 on January 3, 2015. Zingano was originally slated to face Rousey for the title in 2013 and coach opposite of her on The Ultimate Fighter 18, but a knee injury forced Zingano out and kept her out of action for over a year. Zingano is a great story; not only has she rebounded from a serious knee injury, but has also had to endure the awful hardship of losing her spouse earlier this year to suicide. How she was able to come back from that and compete at UFC 178 is simply a testament to her will and spirit. But as much as I respect and love Zingano’s skill set and perseverance, I just don’t see how she can beat Rousey. Don’t get me wrong, no one, including Rousey, is unbeatable. But MMA is all about stylistic matchups and everything that Zingano does well, Rousey does better. Most of Zingano’s game is predicated on her wrestling; she wants to drag her opponents to the ground and unleash her ground-and-pound. She is an ideal grappler, but nowhere near Rousey. Remember Rousey was the first American women to win an Olympic medal in judo; winning the bronze in 2008. Rousey’s grappling game is untouchable by everyone in the UFC women’s bantamweight division except for Sara McMann, who is an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling and who was also defeated by Rousey by TKO. If Zingano is going to beat Rousey, it’s going to happen on the feet because that’s the only part of Rousey’s game that isn’t elite yet. The problem with that though is Zingano isn’t the best striker in the world either. Zingano is pretty good on the feet, but her striking game has yet to really evolve. Rousey on the other hand is making huge improvements on the feet and has won her last two bouts by knockout. Rousey still has a long way to go before we can consider her an elite striker, but man has that part of her game improved since joining the UFC. I will say that the biggest X-factor in this fight is going to be Zingano’s will. To overcome what she has overcome in the time she has done it is astonishing. Her will is undeniable. That’s the one thing in this sport that is impossible to quantify; a fighter’s will, heart and spirit. Mental toughness can’t be taught and fighters either have it or they don’t. Zingano has the kind of mental toughness you just can’t prepare for and it can push her to do things others think is impossible. At the end of the day though, as much as I would like to see Zingano prevail, I just don’t see her beating Rousey.