There are only two women in the world who can claim to hold a win over Cris Cyborg in either mixed martial arts or kickboxing and one of them is undefeated Bellator Kickboxing stand out Jorina Baars.
Baars is actually the last person to hang a loss on Cyborg’s record after defeating her in a Muay Thai bout back in 2014 and now she holds a perfect professional record with 44 wins, three draws and no losses.
Despite those accolades, fellow Bellator fighter Chael Sonnen called her “journeyman fighter of no name or recognition” when speaking about Baars’ fight with Cyborg in one of his video breakdowns ahead of UFC 219 this weekend.
Sonnen later apologized to Baars for the comment but it definitely bugged the 29-year old Dutch phenom considering the lifetime of hard work she’s put into becoming the best women’s kickboxer in the world only to be discarded as a “no name” who just happened to beat Cyborg.
“I was like what the f–k is this? He apologized and I accepted. He said ‘sorry I made a mistake’. I’m not sure what form it was a mistake because he said it but for me he apologized and for me it’s OK now,” Baars said about Sonnen when speaking to MMAWeekly.
“It was just not very respectful. I really don’t know what’s in his mind. I really didn’t like it.”
Sonnen’s remarks really fed into a larger problem that Baars has experienced while trying to get recognition for her incredible body of work, especially when compared to some of her male counterparts in kickboxing.
Current GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven has made headlines dozens of times over the past few years for his accomplishments in kickboxing and Baars holds no ill will towards him for getting the attention he’s received lately. It’s just unfortunate that Baars can’t get the same kind of recognition considering her career record is unblemished and she’s fought the best of the best whenever she steps into the ring.
“I work hard. I started training when I was 7-years old, my first fight was when I was 12 and I never lost a kickboxing or Muay Thai fight. I can’t believe the media’s not picking me up. I’m a professional fighter. I never lost a fight. I’ve never been knocked out. I’ve never been given the eight-count. I really don’t know what happened in the media,” Baars said.
“If you have a big mouth and talk bulls–t you get attention. If you’re just a normal, regular person you get no respect and get no attention. I have more titles that Badr Hari or Rico Verhoeven and he’s in the media everyday. I’m not sure what happened or what I need to do that I get attention or get respect.”
Perhaps what Baars has in mind for her upcoming schedule in 2018 will change all that because after picking up two wins under the Bellator Kickboxing brand, she’s anxious to get back in action in April and then hopefully still fight three more times next year.
Her long term plan is to hope that Bellator will not only continue to bring her top notch competition but Baars likes the idea of adding another high profile name to her resume.
“Now I’m back in training and I hope my next fight will be in April for Bellator. After that, I will have my fourth fight for Bellator and then hopefully I will get a new contract. I hope I will do four fights this year,” Baars said.
“Maybe if it’s possible, Julia Budd is the champion in MMA now and maybe she will get back to kickboxing as well. Julia is a very good kickboxer. I think it would be a great fight. Champion versus champion. We are the same weight so maybe it can happen.”
As far as her history with Cyborg, Baars is very excited to see the reigning UFC women’s featherweight champion get back in action this weekend against Holly Holm.
Holm is a decorated boxing champion as well as a former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, which Baars believes will present the toughest possible challenge to Cyborg in her mixed martial arts career.
“I think Holly is the better striker from her boxing background. Cris is working on her standup very hard and she worked with [Clarissa Shields]. It’s a very good fight. I hope it will be a standup fight and people can see what those girls can use in the fight. I’m really pumped for this fight,” Baars said.
“I really, really don’t know. Cris was strong but she wasn’t my toughest opponent but I see a lot of fights from Holly, boxing matches as well, and I think her timing is a little bit better. Cris has the power and the physical tools. I really don’t know. I think it’s a great matchup. They are both very good fighters. I felt the power from Cris but if Holly picks her distance and her range, she can beat her for sure. But if Cris does what she always does, fights power and aggressive and maybe brings it to the ground, it’s a win for Cris.”
The only thing Baars will guarantee with that matchup is that she will be watching on Saturday night along with the rest of the world.
“I really want to see this fight. It’s such a great matchup,” Baars said. “I think it’s the best women’s fight ever because Cyborg and Holly Holm are both great athletes and they fight standup and they can fight on the ground as well. Their technique is really good. I know Cris is working hard on her kickboxing and standup and I know Holly is working on her wrestling. I can’t wait.”