If you haven’t heard the big news recently, then you’re missing out on history in the making. The UFC and MMA world of late has been quite unpredictable and rather volatile – in a GREAT WAY. New York legalized MMA, fighters are moving up and down in divisions, and Cris “Cyborg” Justino JUST signed up with UFC, and ALREADY has a fight.
Yep, you read right. Cyborg has finally been signed by the UFC after years and years of campaigning on the ex-Strike Force and Invicta champ’s part.
But what took so long? Could it be the fact that Cris was tested positive for steroids? Or was it because she would have a tough time cutting weight from 145 pounds to 135 pounds, which is the heaviest division in the women’s weight class categories.
The answer is ‘both’.
The Brazilian from Curitiba has been on a tear, absolutely pulverizing all that stand in her way. A 15 -1 record shows her last loss was in 2005 via submission, since then, Cyborg has destroyed opposition in both Strike Force and Invicta, but getting caught in a steroid scandal tarnished her reputation.
Since she is 145 pounds, dropping to the UFC’s bantamweight division would have her dropping 10 each time to fight. The weight-cut and lack of divisions made the decision to sign up with the UFC a negative one for her career. But since fighters like Conor McGregor have been jumping up and down in weight classes to pick ‘super’ fights and what not, the UFC doesn’t see any reason not to sign her and get her a fight at ‘catchweight’.
And on that note, the UFC announced Cyborg’s first fight on UFC 198 on May 14th, debuting against tough veteran Leslie Smith at 140 pounds.
Although Cyborg’s been campaigning for Ronda Rousey for a while, it seems she’ll have to settle for Leslie as Ronda is busy making a comeback of her own against Meisha Tate. If Ronda wins, maybe then Cyborg can get her lifelong dream, to beat the once considered ‘queen’ of MMA, and prove herself to the world as the one true Queen. The real issue here is Cyborg’s natural weight class. Will the UFC make her a division (featherweight) or will the Brazilian wrecking machine have to constantly settle for catch weight fights against her poor unwilling, smaller, future opponents.