UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino has taken an aggressive step towards pursuing a professional boxing career.
On Wednesday, Cyborg was approved for a boxing license by the California State Athletic Commission. Executive director Andy Foster confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com following an initial report from MMAFighting.com.
Cyborg has been teasing a potential boxing match ever since striking up a friendship with two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields, who she’s been training with over the past few months.
The other factor playing into Cyborg potentially stepping into the boxing ring could be her current contract situation with the UFC.
Following her knockout win over Tonya Evinger in July, Cyborg had one fight remaining on her deal with a time limit that expired in October. Just after her win, Cyborg sounded confident that she would be able to come to an agreement on a new long-term deal with the UFC.
“The UFC is the best MMA promotion in the world. I have been the best female MMA fighter in the world for a long time according to most fans. Now that I am UFC champion the company and myself have some more time to get things right and establish a healthy working relationship,” Cyborg said in early August.
“It is my goal that I can continue fighting for the best promotion in the world and make the biggest fights the fans want to see.”
Unfortunately it appears that the UFC and Cyborg haven’t been able to come to terms on a new deal despite current negotiations ongoing for her first title defense against former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm.
Obviously, Cyborg’s pursuit of a boxing career could hinge on her future plans with the UFC.
If she re-signs with the organization, the UFC would then have to approve any fights for Cyborg outside of the promotion just like the recent boxing match between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.
On the flipside, if Cyborg reaches free agency and isn’t able to reach a deal with the UFC then she would be free to take a boxing match or potentially sign with a rival mixed martial arts organization.
Now it’s just a matter of what happens next in Cyborg’s career as she begins looking for her next challenge inside or outside the Octagon.