>> The following is an excerpt from “Caged Beauty,” which appears in the July issue of M&F, on newsstands June 2.

Let’s be clear about one thing right up front: Gina Carano is the baddest woman on the planet. We realize that the demure, dimple-framed smile and girl-next-door looks seen on the previous page may seem to contradict that billing, but it’s true. Doubt at your own discretion. A delightful blend of femininity and ferocity, Carano can definitely throw mad hands (and feet and knees). But it hasn’t always been bright lights and big crowds for the wildly popular MMA star and American Gladiators cast member. It used to be that Carano’s fistic fury was showcased only when solicited.

“My friends and I were at a bar one night and this girl had a huge problem with me because she thought I was flirting with her friend’s boyfriend, which I wasn’t,” Carano recalls. “I just ignored her, and that made her that much angrier with me for whatever reason. So she started verbally attacking my roommate, who’s very petite. That’s when she got my attention.

“The bouncers knew I wasn’t the troublemaker, and they started escorting that girl out the back way. I wanted to fight her, but the bouncers held me back and told me to forget about it and not to go outside. But I was so frustrated that I took off my heels, left them inside and went around to the back where she was. By myself.”

Carano, the lone defender of her roommate’s honor, confronted the girl—along with her drunken, belligerent posse—by knuckling the Zima out of her pores.

“I punched her, mounted her and started throwing some bombs,” she says with a giggle. “But then one of her friends grabbed me by the hair and completely swung me off her, and then the bouncers got there.

“But I’m prouder of the stuff I’ve done in the ring since.”

For the rest of our story on Gina, pick up our July issue, on sale June 2.

Gina steps into the cage this Saturday (May 31) for what may be her toughest bout yet. Kaitlin Young, who struts in with an impressive 4-1 record (all four wins by knockout), is a fiercely conditioned competitor with great striking ability. You can catch the clash on the premiere of EliteXC’s Saturday Night Fights on CBS.

Here are a few of Gina’s thoughts on this weekend’s bout, courtesy of Elite XC.

>> On the match-up against Young. . .

I just think it’s an awesome match up. I think it’s a great opponent. I think that I’m definitely somebody who fights better with somebody better in front of me.

>> On Young’s fighting ability and style. . .

I think she is a good fighter in general. I’m sure she has been practicing a lot on the ground, so I am not going to count her as a stand up fighter; I am going to count her as a complete fighter, an MMA fighter. I think she is an aggressive fighter. I just think it’s going to be a really good match up for me, and I think it’s going to make for an awesome fight.

>> On whether a longer fight favors her opponent. . .

I think this fight could go either way and I’m planning it on favoring me. But we’re pretty equal in our stand up. I’m expecting a pretty equal match up. As soon as I get in that cage with her then I’ll be able to kind of gauge where we’re at.

>> On her own training and physicality in the cage. . .

I’ve been fighting in a different way outside the ring for the last nine months. I think it’s going to be pretty refreshing just to get in there and get physical. I’m not worried about it at all. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m better at being physical. I’m better at using my body. I’m better at fighting than I am at doing any of the entertaining or press conferences. I’m better at using my body and my physical ability and natural instincts. It’s going to be refreshing. Fighting outside the ring is not an easy thing. At least when you are in the cage you know who is throwing the punches (laughing).


For an exclusive photo gallery of Carano, click here.
For video from our Las Vegas photo shoot, click here.
Or check out the otherM&F Galleries