Sourse After title defense, Strikeforce champ Cris "Cyborg" Santos likely to get Erin Toughill next | MMAjunkie.com
SUNRISE, Fla. – With another dominating victory and her first title defense under her belt, Strikeforce women's lightweight champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos can now look to her next challenge.
As Scott Coker told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
) following Saturday's "Strikeforce: Miami" event, Erin Toughill could be next to challenge for the title.
Santos set up the likely bout after defeating a game but overpowered Marloes Coenen in the co-main event of the Jan. 30 event, which took place at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla.
Santos (9-1 MMA, 3-0 SF), who won the first-ever major women's MMA title with a first-round TKO of Gina Carano in August, needed two rounds and nearly four minutes to finish off Coenen (17-4 MMA, 1-1 SF). The Dutch submission specialist stayed in the contest through sheer heart and grit, though it wasn't enough to overcome her Brazilian striker of an opponent. Santos shrugged off even Coenen's biggest shots and eventually forced a stoppage with a ground-and-pound assault late in the third round of the scheduled five-rounder.
Santos has now won nine consecutive fights, and seven of the past eight have come via stoppage. With such a dominant champ, what does Coker have next in store for Santos?
"We're going to offer the fight to Gilbert Melendez, maybe Josh Thomson," Coker joked while referring to his top male lightweights. "And then we'll take it from there.
"Seriously, though, I think the next opponent is Erin Toughill.
Coker likes the size Toughill (10-2 MMA, 0-0 SF) brings to the matchup. After all, it's a needed weapon when fighting Santos, who noticeably bulked up in the 24 hours between weigh-ins and fight night. Besides, the main reason Strikeforce signed Toughill, a former "American Gladiators" star and part-time pro boxer, was for the probable fight.
"That's why we brought her in – to fight Santos," he said.
Toughill, who hasn't fought since a May 2009 win at a Palace Fighting Championships event, is riding a four-fight win streak with nine victories in her past 10 fights.
And though Santos said she has more work to do, specifically on her striking, she said she's ready for whomever Strikeforce sends her way.
"I train for everyone," she said through a translator. "I'm ready for any opponent."
Coker said the Santos vs. Toughill fight is likely to happen in the late spring or early summer, though he said the organization's planned April return to CBS airwaves is likely too soon for the matchup