Cat Zingano: “This moment will be hard to top.”

UFC bantamweight Cat Zingano was beaten, bloodied, and nearly finished last night in her Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale match-up with Miesha Tate. However, she held on during a few rough patches and finally landed an assault of her own ultimately ending Tate’s evening. In addition to being an impressive victory, the triumph also secured her a title-shot and spot as a head coach on TUF 18.

Zingano’s emotion was evident before and after the bout, and understandably so, telling MMAJunkie the entire situation was the manifestation of a longtime dream.

On the experience:

“It’s just surreal. It’s a really good feeling, and this is exactly what I wanted, and it’s happening exactly the way I expected – well I guess not the way I expected, but things are happening the way they should, and it just feels great.”

“I was overwhelmed, definitely, by the opportunity. I knew I would be excited. I knew that it was going to be amazing. But I don’t think I had any idea how much it would impact me from the inside out. It just felt great. It just felt really, really special for me tonight. This moment will be hard to top.”

On champion Ronda Rousey:

“I think to say you’re not frightened going into a fight, there’s a border between being cocky and being confident. I like to be confident, absolutely not cocky, and I like to have that healthy fear of my opponents. It keeps me on my toes. It keeps my camp relatively stressful for me, but it makes me continue to always be really hard on myself and always strive for the best. I always start strong and finish stronger.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports