Cris “Cyborg” Justino’s long awaited UFC debut has finally been booked.
In an article that was published in The MMA Report, the UFC announced Monday that the current FC Invicta featherweight champions will make her UFC debut at UFC 198 in her hometown of Brazil. Her opponent will be Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith at a catchweight of 140 pounds.
But the opponent was not what fans expected as they were hoping that Cyborg will be fighting against an opponent such as Ronda Rousey. It was revealed, however, that the former women’s bantamweight champion did not want to fight an opponent outside of her weight class.
“It’s a dream come true for Cris, not only to fight in front of her home crowd but to step into the Octagon. We’re just happy the UFC is giving her this opportunity,” Justino’s manager George Prajin said. “We’re not looking pass this fight. One month ago, we thought it would be a Hail Mary to get into the UFC. Now we have this opportunity.”
Meanwhile, while Rousey continued to balk at the notion of moving up from 135 pounds to meet Cyborg, Holm and Tate revealed that they are open at fighting Justino at a catchweight.
“I am open to that fight. Maybe doing it at a catchweight of 140,” Tate said at a recent Q & A session in Australia “I have nothing but respect for Cyborg. I would love to step in there with someone of her caliber.”
Justino has been unbeaten since losing her professional debut in 2005 and is coming off a knockout victory at Invicta FC 15 against Daria Ibragimova. Thirteen of her fifteen wins came by way of TKO/KO and eight of those wins came in the first round. Smith, on the other hand, has won two of her last three fights and is coming off a decision win at UFC Fight Night 85 against Rin Nakai. She is 5-4 in her last nine fights and is 2-2 in the UFC.
UFC 198 will take place on May 14 at the Arena de Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil. It will feature another Brazilian Fabricio Werdum defending his heavyweight belt against Stipe Miocic. The fight will also have Anderson Silva making his return to the UFC against Uriah Hall.
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