Laura Sanko still feels she’s got something to prove after all these years.
Most commonly known for her work on the microphone with Invicta Fighting Championship before becoming the voice of Dana White’s Contender Series, Sanko was on track to rise through the ranks of the Atomweight division. Going 4-1 as an amateur from 2010 to 2012, “Fancy” made her professional debut with a second-round rear-naked choke submission win at Invicta FC 4 against Cassie Robb in Jan. 2013.
With no Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 105-pound weight class to strive for and a child on the way, Sanko hung up the gloves before her in-cage career was really even able to get off the ground.
“Paige VanZant and I debuted on the same card, same night, we both got wins, both got finishes,” Sanko said on The Sessions with Renee Paquette. “I know that if there had been an atomweight division in the UFC, I know that I could have gone on to have a solid career in the UFC. There’s no doubt in my mind. There’s not that much footage of me out there fighting and I’m so much better than the footage that does exist, that’s the irritating part because my growth as a fighter really happened after I quit competing actively. So there’s definitely a part of me that wants to get back to some form of competition just to prove to people I’m about that life.”
Sanko, 39, has definitely made the best of all opportunities given to her outside of an in-cage career, whether behind the analyst desk or interviewing fighters post-fight. In 2021, she made history as only the second woman to commentate fights for a UFC program, with the aforementioned Contender Series. Eventually, Sanko hopes to fully follow in the footsteps of Kathy Long — who called UFC 1 — by getting the chance to call fights for a UFC event.