Invicta FC featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino is finally set to make her UFC debut in a catchweight bout against Leslie Smith at May 14’s UFC 198 from Curitiba, Brazil.
Although it won’t be the long sought upon super fight with former bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey, it is a good sign to see the Brazilian slugger finally make her way over to the Octagon.
One thing to note, however, is that the UFC doesn’t have a featherweight division for female fighters. With that being said, Justino will likely have to continuously fight at catchweights, or find some way to cut down to the 135 pound limit.
While some fighters, including reigning UFC champion Miesha Tate, have expressed their willingness to fight “Cyborg” at a catchweight, Rousey has never seemed to budge.
Recently speaking on the matter, Justino admitted that a fighter can’t be pushed into a fight, although she is hopeful that Rousey will accept a bout at 140 pounds with her upon the “Rowdy” one’s return:
“You know, you can’t push a fighter into a fight, it’s better for them to compete because they want to challenge themselves. I like to challenge myself. I’m an MMA world champ, but I fought the Muay Thai world champ because I like to challenge myself. Maybe I’ll lose, maybe I’ll win, but I’ll be getting better.”
“I think when Ronda comes back to fight, all of the fans want to watch me fight her. She has talked about me in the past, she has pushed the idea of this fight, but after that said I had to make 135lbs to fight her, because she knew it was impossible for me. Now I’m in a 140lbs catchweight division, so if she wants to challenge herself and not just talk, we can make the fight happen.” Justino told Bloody Elbow.
As far as Tate and Holly Holm, another former UFC champion, go, “Cyborg” respects them all, but once again admits that she can’t make these highly intriguing bouts happen herself:
“I respect Holly Holm. She’s a great fighter and she has had big changes in her life now. She’s a good person. Miesha Tate is a good person too. I’m here to fight anyone, but fighters either want to challenge themselves or not, and I can’t change that. I can only control myself and challenge myself, so I just have to focus on May 14th, making 140lbs and fighting Leslie Smith.”
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