UFC Legacies: Cris Cyborg
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) houses some of the greatest fighting talents in the world, to the point where making bets on UFC spreads is sometimes a very difficult task.
One of the most prominent names in UFC history is Cris Cyborg.
Cristiane Justino Venâncio, known by her professional nickname of Cris Cyborg, is one of the most dominant and skilled MMA fighters that the UFC has ever seen.
With an impeccable 22-2 record, the Brazilian fighter has reached an MMA milestone the likes of which no other fighter has accomplished.
Here’s everything you must know about Cris Cyborg.
Before the UFC
The Brazilian-born athlete wasn’t originally interested in fighting. She was an athletic child with plenty of skills and later went on to play handball at a national level, with plans to pursue the sport professionally in the future.
These plans were quickly stopped after she was discovered by a trainer named Rudimar Fedrigo who, after being impressed with her physical size, was successful in convincing her to join the world of professional fighting.
Cris Cyborg made her 2005 MMA debut at Showfight 2 in a battle with renowned fighter Erica Paes, losing the first round thanks to a knee bar submission.
Fortunately, after this loss, Cris embarked on an impressive 7-fight win streak including a stunning victory against Shayna Baszler in her US MMA debut in July 2008.
She later signed to fight for Strikeforce and made her debut against Hitomi Akano in April 2009, defeating her opponent via TKO in the third round.
Her standout fight came in August 2009 when she fought against Gina Carano, a highly anticipated fight, to claim the inaugural Women’s Featherweight Championship title.
Cris Cyborg would go on to successfully defend her title against Marloes Coenen and also Jan Finney in January and April 2010, respectively,
Her contract expired in June 2011, however, she renewed her Strikeforce contract in August 2011 and remained with the company until it folded in early 2013.
Invicta Fighting Championships
In February 2013, just a month after the Strikeforce organization folded, Cyborg went on to sign a deal with the Invicta Fighting Championships, making her promotional debut against Fiona Muxlow and, thankfully, winning in the first round.
Cris Cyborg used Muay Thai against Jennifer Colomb in Las Vegas (September 2012) at Lion Fight 11, managing to overcome the then-undefeated French fighter via TKO in the third round.
A return to MMA in February 2015 saw Cris Cyborg defend her Invicta Featherweight reign from Charmaine Tweet. In July 2015, Cris Cyborg also maintained her title after a fight against Faith Van Duin.
Cris Cyborg’s promotional debut occurred during UFC 198 in March 2016 fighting Leslie Smith. She competed at Catchweight (140 lbs) and quickly won via TKO.
In the main event of UFC Fight Night 95, Cris Cyborg fought newcomer Lina Länsberg. As expected, the former claimed victory via TKO in the second round.
Cyborg vs Germaine de Randamie
Following this win, Cyborg vacated the Invicta FC Women’s Featherweight Championship title and rightfully called out Germaine de Randamie, the then-UFC Women’s Featherweight Champ, in March 2017.
After refusing to fight due to previous accusations made against Cyborg regarding a potential doping violation, de Randamie was stripped of her belt in June of that same year.
In 2017, Cyborg went on to defeat Tonya Evinger (Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion), Holly Holm, and then Yana Kunitskaya (Invicta Bantamweight Champion) in March 2018.
Cris Cyborg vs Amanda Nunes
During UFC 232, Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes fought to claim the coveted UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship title. Nunes dominated the fight from the offset and knocked Cyborg out within the opening minute.
This put an end to Cyborg’s impressive title reign and concluded her 20-fight winning streak.
After completing her last contractual UFC fight against Felicia Spencer in July 2019, Cris Cyborg immediately started negotiations with other fighting organizations.
Bellator MMA and Beyond
She later signed a Bellator MMA contract in September 2019.
She didn’t waste any time and went on to fight Julia Budd and claim victory for the Women’s Featherweight Championship.
She went on to successfully defend her title in fights with Arlene Blencowe in Bellator 249 (October 2020), Leslie Smith (May 2021), Sinead Kavanagh (November 2021), and a 2022 rematch against Blencowe at Bellator 297 in April 2022.
In the summer of 2022, Cris Cyborg went on to become a free agent.
She then made her professional boxing debut in September 2022 against Simone Silva and won via unanimous decision.
Cris Cyborg is the reigning Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion. Cyborg is also currently number one in the Bellator Women’s pound-for-pound rankings.
Not only that, but she also has a professional MMA record of two losses, 25 wins, and one no-contest. She is also the only Grand Slam Champion in all MMA history.
Although Cris Cyborg is no longer with the UFC, she’s left her mark as one of the most impressive fighters to ever pass through the ranks. With an incredible winning streak behind her, she is immortalized in UFC history.
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