According to Wanderlei Silva, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos was pretty much born tough.
“It’s amazing,” he told MMAInsider. “I trained with her in Brazil. She’s incredible, like a man. The last training camp I see, she trained with a man. She’s dangerous. Sometimes when you train with a woman, you just play. But with her, every time you need to train, because she’s tough.”
In interviews, Santos has credited the “classic” Chute Boxe line-up of Silva, the Rua brothers, and of course, her husband Evangelista, with turning her into a professional fighter.
Silva says he immediately noticed Santos’ work ethic.
“Before she go into the gym when she was younger, she played professional handball, then one hour, she goes for the bicycle, trains for two hours, then does one hour on the bicycle,” he continued. “She’s crazy.”
Santos won her Strikeforce debut emphatically at “Shamrock vs. Diaz,” stopping Hitomi Akano with strikes in the second round. But the victory was tainted when she missed the bout’s 145lb. weight limit by seven pounds, and could not get to within the six pound overage allowed by the California State Athletic Commission.
The bout was eventually cleared by CSAC, with Santos’ final weigh-in registering 150.5 lbs.
Her victory set up an expected showdown between Santos and Gina Carano for an August Strikeforce currently in the works. The fight is anticipated to be the biggest in the short history of women’s MMA.
Silva thinks the two should fight heavier.
“It’s too much for Cyborg,” he said of the 145lb. class. “Because Gina’s her next opponent, Gina’s more big too. It’s possible to make the fight for 155. 155 is better for both. Because you cut a lot of weight, the performance is not the same. It’s hard for Gina and hard for her.”
Whatever class they fight at, though, he’s excited to see it.
“The girls make history, because it’s the first big match for women,” he said. “The first main event for women. I’m thinking Gina and Cyborg open the market for the girls.”