Cyborg, widely regarded as one of the greatest female mixed martial artists of all time, has maintained her reputation in the sport since departing the UFC in 2019, winning all five of her subsequent outings in the Bellator cage.
After the first, a fourth-round TKO win over Julia Budd, saw her collect the 145-pound gold, the Brazilian has gone on to defend the strap four times. As well as beating away the challenges of Sinead Kavanagh and Leslie Smith, Cyborg has gotten the better of Arlene Blencowe twice, most recently this past April.
Since Bellator 279, Cyborg has been absent from the cage, instead fulfilling her dream of competing in boxing — a luxury afforded to her by the MMA promotion she’s called home for three years.
Having made a successful debut in the sport a few months back, outpointing former Brazilian national boxing champion Simone Aparecida da Silva at Fight Music Show 2, Cyborg will get here second dose of action this weekend.
On the undercard of Terence Crawford’s championship fight against David Avanesyan, Cyborg will share the ring with former Bellator fighter Gabrielle Holloway.
Saturday’s contest will mark Cyborg’s second since she last competed in steel surroundings. Despite that, though, mixed martial arts remains the veteran featherweight’s priority, and a sport she’s excited to return to next year.
The question is, will that be under the Bellator banner? Coker, the promotion’s president, seems to think so.
This past September, he confirmed that Cyborg had entered the matching period of her contract, meaning she’s free to discuss deals elsewhere. He did, however, insist that Bellator remains committed to having the MMA great on its roster.
That’s a sentiment Cyborg has now confirmed that she shares.
Cyborg Enthusiastic About Likely Bellator Stay
During a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Marc Raimondi, Cyborg assessed her future plans once she’s completed her sophomore boxing appearance this weekend in Omaha, Nebraska.
Having dedicated months to honing her skills in the ring, Cyborg said she’ll be returning to MMA training soon. And in terms of her future in the sport, the Brazilian firmly sees it playing out alongside Coker as part of Bellator.
“After this fight, I’m back on MMA training. For sure, I want to do both together… But number one, for me, is MMA,” Cyborg said. “Yes, (I’m still a free agent). But I love working with Scott Coker. Let’s see. I believe we’ll be working together (still). I have a nice relationship (with him). He’s not just my boss, we’re partners… He respects me.”
Perhaps hammering home her desire to stay put, Cyborg also outlined the expectation that she’ll defend her belt again in 2023, naming Cat Zingano as the likely next challenger.
“Alpha” staked her claim for a shot this past July by outpointing Pam Sorenson, a result that marked her third success in a row. While Zingano has claimed to have been “guaranteed” a championship opportunity within the next three months, Cyborg expects the bout to go down next summer.
“I have my title and I’m getting ready to defend. I believe the next one is supposed to be Cat Zingano. She really needs to stop running and accept fight,” Cyborg asserted. “Then let’s see… She’s a great match. Everyone knows who she is; big name…. I believe it’s going to be (in the) summer.”
Are you excited by the prospect of Cris Cyborg remaining under the Bellator MMA banner?
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