Since 2009, there’s only been one women’s champion in the 145-pound weight class. Brazilian Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino has sat atop the women’s featherweight division for nearly seven years. She single-handedly ended the Gina Carano-era of women’s MMA and sent “Conviction” into retirement.
She’s held titles in Strikeforce and Invicta FC. On May 14 in Curitiba, Brazil, Cyborg makes her UFC debut against Leslie Smith in a catchweight bout at 140 pounds. She plans to parlay her Octagon debut into big-fight opportunities down the line.
“I’m very happy. I think it’s a great opportunity. I don’t think it was soon or late. I think it was at the right time. I think that everything that I’ve went through in my career have kind of culminated in this UFC debut at UFC 198,” she said during a press conference this week promoting the pay-per-view event.
“I’m very well prepared,” she said. “I want to put on a great fight for everyone and bring a great knockout for Brazil.”
Justino plans to hold and defend her Invicta FC featherweight title while accepting fights in the UFC. She believes the fans want to see her compete on the biggest stage in MMA.
“I’m going to continue in my division. I’m going to continue holding my belt,” she said. “I think (fighting in the UFC) is what people want to see. It’s a great opportunity at UFC 198. I want to have a great fight. After this fight, I think the doors are going to open to a lot of things.”
With her foot finally wedged in the UFC door, Cyborg sees the potential mega-fights that could be made.