If you were watching last night’s Strikeforce: Miami event, which featured Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos first successful defense of her woman’s title, then you may have been wondering what happened to her previous opponent, Gina Carano.

Carano, often referred to as the face of woman’s MMA, has rarely been heard of seen since losing to Santos in August of last year, but there are big things in store for the 27 year old this year – though not necessarily in Strikeforce.

It was announced last year that Carano was to star in a new Steven Soderbergh spy-thriller titled ‘Knockout’, and filming begins in Ireland on February 2nd according to The Belfast Telegraph.  Other locations featured in the film will be New Mexico, Turkey and Barcelona.

The plot: “Double crossed by someone on her own team, Mallory Kane (Carano)— a black ops super soldier — seeks to uncover who has set her up to take the fall for a job that goes bad that involves a murder.”

Having seen some of the other straight-to-DVD offerings that mixed martial arts stars have appeared in recent times you may be somewhat suspicious of the quality of ‘Knockout’, but the cast that Soderbergh has assembled hints that this is shaping up to be a major Hollywood picture.

Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Fassbender and Channing Tatum are all expected to star in the film, according to clonemovie.com.

It certainly looks like the kind of film that will garner a lot of attention in the coming months, and it could be a turning point in Carano’s career.  If successful though it raises significant doubts over whether she will return to mixed martial arts competition, or continue to pursue a career in the movies.  Carano’s silence onher future is only likely to increase speculation on the matter in the coming months.

Of course she is not the only MMA star to have secured a role in a blockbuster movie in recent times.  UFC star Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson will appear in movie theaters around the world in the summer when he takes on the role of B.A Baracus in the A-Team remake alongside Liam Neeson and Jessica Biel, while Randy Couture landed a role in the April, 2010 release, ‘The Expendables’ starring Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham and Bruce Willis.

Both fighters are set to compete in the UFC in the coming months.