Cristane Justino, known to most as Cris Cyborg, is one of the most feared female fighters in MMA today. The current Invicta FC featherweight champion stands with a record of 17-1, out of which 15 are knockouts. She made her UFC debut in May with a vicious knockout over Leslie Smith. This was followed by a knockout of Lina Lansberg at UFC Fight Night 95 in September.
With the recent rise of talent in the featherweight division and Cris gaining international recognition, many questions have been raised against her. Cyborg took some time to answer a few of those questions with Pro MMA Now.
The most common opinion regarding the women featherweight division is that it doesn’t have quality fighters and lacks depth. What is your take on this? Do you think that women of your division are under appreciated?
I think the idea that there are no girls at 145 is fabricated by the UFC media. Look at the Olympics; USA took Gold in Boxing and Judo in Women’s events and both those ladies are heavier than 145! Gabi Garcia is fighting women [willing] to fight her at 245-pounds in Japan! Dana White has been able to sell the audience on the story that Ronda was a once in a lifetime athlete, but she never beat anyone as good as Gina Carano. Gina could beat anyone Rousey has beaten.
What are your thoughts on the position of women in the MMA world today? In a recent interview Jozette Cotton said that she found it sexist that UFC doesn’t have heavier women weight divisions, thoughts on the statement?
I don’t know if it’s sexiest, but it wasn’t that long ago Dana White said women would never fight in the octagon. He is the guy fans are asking to put on the biggest fight in UFC history and he’s not ready to promote more than two women champions.
In a reign of three years as the Invicta FC world champion, you have defended your belt only three times, why? In your statement on Instagram you say that was unfair to the girls of your division that you were fighting at 140, yet you haven’t announced thoughts on defending the belt, why? Do you think that your star power can force UFC to create a women’s featherweight division?
I want to fight at 145-pounds. It’s always been a dream if the UFC wanted to promote me at the weight I feel the healthiest.
In a recent interview Julia Budd said that she was staying in Bellator because there was no stage for her to deliver. This is the story of many women featherweight fighters. How do you think this problem can be solved, without the help of UFC?
I bring an automatic fan base to wherever I fight. Thirty million people in Brazil and 1.3 million people in America watched my last fight with less than six days TV promo. There was no open workout and my gate still did better than the last time the UFC visited Brasilia. If the UFC doesn’t want to promote me, I feel confident my fans will watch me wherever I go, whether that is Japan, Bellator, boxing, or even self-promoting.
Lina Lansberg in a interview pointed out that you have not faced quality opponents in your past few fights. You have claimed that fighters avoid you. But despite this fact many women have called you out, can you please describe your current status as a fighter with respect to this?
Who has called me out? Holly Holm? Miesha Tate? Ronda Rousey? Megan Anderson? Sara McMann? I’ve asked for all of them and more. Sign the contract.
You recently expressed your thoughts on the return of Ronda Rousey. You claimed she was avoiding you. If she is avoiding you, why are you constantly calling her out? I mean no offense but all these call outs have resulted in many people calling you a money hungry fighter who is not interested in quality fighters?
I have been under a UFC contract the past five fights. They approve and matchmake my opponents as my promoter. So far these are the best fights they have been able to put on that they feel the fans are wanting to watch. I’m ready for all the names the fans are asking for.
If you have to coach a season of The Ultimate Fighter, for the inaugural women 145 belt, who would you want to coach against?
A message for every girl who wants to take MMA as a career.
Train hard and enjoy the martial arts journey! Check out one of my Pinkbelt camps and let’s train together!
Thanks for your time.