Cris “Cyborg” Justino is scheduled to face Leslie Smith at Bellator 259 on May 21, and even though the two have faced off before, with Cyborg walking away the victor, both women are well aware that neither is the same fighter they were six years ago.
The last time the two fought was at UFC 198 in 2016 and there was no title on the line but now, the Bellator Featherweight title around her waist, Cyborg told media at Bellator 255 she is “really happy” to be facing Smith. She added, “I know we fight (sic) before, six years ago but we are better fighters now. And, for sure it’s going to be a great fight for everyone.”
Smith seemed to have the same take, especially since she was on the losing end back then. Since Smith won her last two fights in the UFC before going to Bellator and is currently 2-1 with the promotion. She is currently the number four ranked featherweight according to the newly released Official Bellator fighter rankings.
“I’ve been wanting this fight, I asked for this fight,” Smith told the media and said what’s different this time is, “in a rematch, the person who won is like. ‘Yeah, what’s up I won.’ The person who didn’t win, they’re the ones studying the tape, saying ‘How can I change this? What can I do? What can I do differently? And I have definitely done that with my team.”
Cyborg’s last title defense was against the number three ranked Arlene Blencowe who Smith lost a decision to at Bellator 233. Cyborg defeated Blencowe in the second round at Bellator 249 so judging by the rankings, it would seem Bellator has set a clear path for the Women’s Featherweight Champion, no matter who that is come May 21.
How do you think this rematch will go?