Carano ready to Crush the competition inside the cage
The world may know her as Crush from "American Gladiatiors," but Gina Carano wants to be known as much for her takedowns and strikes as for her on-TV persona, writes Michael Woods.
Originally Published: May 13, 2008By Michael Woods | Special to ESPN.com
Tom Casino/WireImageFive wins and counting: Gina Carano, left, is steadily climbing the MMA ranks.Gina Carano typically likes to have two full months of hard-core training to get ready for an MMA fight. She will have only three weeks to get into mental and physical condition to take on Kaitlin Young on CBS's Elite XC card on May 31. But the Texas native, who is known as Crush on NBC's "American Gladiators," understands that a fighter has to branch out before a career reaches its tail end, so they can have a vocational Plan B to fall back on when the fighting's done. The 26-year-old Carano, who holds a 5-0 record since debuting in June 2006, is the most well-known female MMA fighter; she finds herself in that slot after having a scant handful of bouts, but it cannot be said that the label is undeserved. Her skills are considerable, as she has played catch-up, and beefed up her jiu-jitsu to bring it up to par with her considerable Muay Thai foundation. Couple that with her striking appearance -- the offspring of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Glenn Carano and mother Dana is genetically gifted, from an aesthetic perspective -- and her role on the "American Gladiator," it is understandable that a fighter with only a few pro fights under her belt is seen as the face of women's MMA. Carano checked in with ESPN.com Monday afternoon. The second season of "American Gladiator" was kicking off on NBC that night, but she was working on getting herself out of Crush mode and into the fight mentality she'll need to get to 6-0 when she meets 4-1 Kaitlin Young on CBS's first MMA foray on May 31. Was she out of Crush character, away from the world of re-shoots, complimentary lighting angles and branding, and into fight mode?
This will be an extremely tough fight for me. She [Young] has been training her [butt] off for me.
-- Gina Carano, on her opponent, Kaitlin Young