Gina "Conviction" Carano (7-1) is inching closer to coming out of retirement. The former face of women's MMA appeared on "The Arsenio Hall Show" recently, revealing that "now is the moment" for her to make up her mind on a comeback.

She also announced that she will be meeting with UFC President Dana White next week to discuss a return to the cage.

Carano last fought in a professional MMA bout on Aug. 15, 2009. That fight was against Cris "Cybog" Justino, and Carano lost by TKO with just one second left to go in the first round.

Even though she did line up another fight for June 18, 2011 against Sarah D'Alelio, she pulled out due to undisclosed medical reasons. There were no definitive reports as to what ailment kept her out of the cage, and she reportedly passed all pre-fight medical examinations.

Carano is still under contract with the UFC since they own all former Strikeforce assets, but if Dana White wants her back into the cage he will likely have to present her with a very lucrative offer.

Carano herself hinted in past interviews that she would have to have the right opportunity and circumstances in order to make an official comeback.

During her time away from the sport, she starred in a variety of movies and TV shows. Her latest film in theaters is "In The Blood."

Taking time away from Hollywood may hurt her chances of landing more leading roles in the immediate future, but she could actually make more money fighting for real with the UFC's current financial state so secure.

She can leverage the fact that so many fans want to see her back in the cage as well as the fact that she will be financially secure staying away from the cage if that's what she ultimately chooses to do. That means any official comeback will be guaranteed to translate to a huge payday.

Current UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey remains undefeated and undaunted by talk of Carano's return. She even stated last month that she would fight Carano at 145 pounds if need be.

"There would be certain exceptions that I would make for Gina that I wouldn't for anyone else," Rousey said in March. "To fight her would be a real honor, and I think it would be a milestone for the sport."

Although there have been many hints pointing to Carano's comeback, they were always very vague before Carano confirmed she will be meeting with White next week.

First, Joe Rogan stirred the pot during a discussion about Rousey's next opponent when he insisted he had information he wished he could talk about. Rogan has an insider track as a UFC commentator and good friend of Dana White.

Carano also offered similar sentiments over the last few weeks, saying she's not at liberty to discuss what's going on behind the scenes.

Though the lack of viable opponents for Rousey makes it highly likely that Carano's first fight in the cage will be for the belt, it's hard to imagine that going over well with all the currently active female contenders who want a crack at that belt and never stopped working toward that goal.

Carano herself may not feel she is completely ready to fight top tier opponents right now. It makes much more sense for her to face off against another title contender before stepping up to fight Rousey.

Then again, if she loses that return match it would be much tougher to make a Rousey fight as successful and lucrative as possible for all parties.

By the time she does enter the cage again to fight, itwill be around five years since she last competed in the sport. There is bound to be some cage rust to shake off.

Whoever she faces in that return fight, Carano's sex appeal alone will likely result in a significant increase in average viewership for any card she appears on. It may be unfortunate, but the reality of women's MMA is that ugly doesn't cut it in the big leagues.

Both Rousey and Carano are clear examples of how important (and lucrative) it is to have a pretty face and a sexy figure as a woman involved in any sport (just Google "Anna Kournikova").

A fight between these two talented and beautiful women would be far more popular than a fight between Rousey and the woman they call "Cyborg."

Look for Carano to come away from the meeting with White with more "conviction" than ever to re-claim her former glory as a mixed martial artist.

Whether she can maintain the kind of dominance she did before losing to Justino remains to be seen, but it's certainly worth a shot if the finances are right.

Like she told Arsenio: "I'm either going to do it now or retire and say I'm never going to do it."

Women's MMA fans everywhere will rejoice if she comes back into the fold, but expectations will be high if she does.

Let's just hope she can meet them.


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