Cris Cyborg’s punching power has never been in question.
The rest of her MMA arsenal is often overlooked – kicks, knees, elbows, takedowns, punishing grounds and pounds.
None of these weapons will come in handy for the Bellator MMA featherweight champion on Sunday when she makes her professional boxing debut against Simon Silva at Fight Music Show 2 at Arena da Baixada in her hometown of Curitiba, Brazil.
Five-time world boxing champion Mia St. John, who has known a cyborg for seven years, is excited to see the crossovers.
“I think it’s a great turnaround, because she’s been in MMA for so long. And where does she go from there?” said St. John, who was on a recent media day at Cyborg’s gym in Huntington Beach. “It will be exciting for the fans to see, it is something new, it is something different. So I think her switch to boxing was a very smart move. It will attract a lot of attention to the sport of boxing.”
Getting into the squared circle has always been a goal for the 37-year-old Huntington Beach resident. Being able to do so in Curitiba, the capital of the southern Brazilian state of Parana, where Cyborg won her first professional MMA fight in 2005 and her first UFC fight in 2016, is a bucket list.
“I am so grateful and happy that he will be in my city,” said Cyborg. “I think it would be very special.”
Cyborg has always been one of the most feared attackers in MMA. She is the only Grand Slam champion in MMA history, having won four major titles in Strikeforce, Invicta FC, UFC and Bellator.
She claimed a unanimous rematch victory with Arlene Blencowe at Bellator 279 in April in Honolulu—one of only five wins by decision in her decorated career. The only submission victory on her record was a naked rear throttle against Blencowe two years ago at Bellator 249.
The rest of the victories are by knockout. Sure, some came thanks to kicks, knees, and elbows. But the ferocity and violence of her own hands has always been Cyborg’s greatest strength.
“I’ve fought with her before. And she’s a pretty strong girl. I’ll tell you. She’s just very strong. But she also has good boxing skills. That’s why,” said St. John, who has gone 49-14-2 over his 19-year career. In that I’m excited for this fight.” It’s interesting – she’s actually fighting a girl with a lot of experience who doesn’t have a tomato can. This girl is tough. Despite her record, she is a very tough girl. So I was really shocked about that. I would probably have chosen someone less experienced because this is her first fight.”
Besides, Silva is 39 years old in fighting game. The Sao Paulo native posted a record 17-22, which she has not taken eight losses in a row since the start of 2020. She is credited with being a former Brazilian national champion and has fought for several world titles.
Cyborg says Sunday’s super welterweight match wasn’t going to be easy, and it wasn’t the preparation for it, which was very different from what she’s used to.
“Some days I get frustrated, sometimes I feel happy, you know? But I do a lot of sprints, a lot of swimming, a lot of bag work, a lot of sparring, footwork, movement,” said Cyborg.
Not that Cyborg is done with MMA. She said she’s excited to make her fifth Bellator title defense against anyone Bellator CEO Scott Cocker offers her — “She was supposed to be Kat Zingano, but she didn’t show up,” Cyborg said of the former UFC bantamweight title contender — but in For now, she is grateful for the opportunity to participate in another combat sport.
Top stars like boxing’s Kate Taylor and MMA’s Kayla Harrison are often mentioned. Regardless of the sport, a cyborg is ready for the next challenge.
“I have big names calling me. I just have to be ready to be where I want to do a big fight for my fans,” said Cyborg. “The fans want to see Kate Taylor? Yeah, we’ll train hard. They want to see Kayla Harrison? Then we’ll train hard. Let’s see what’s the next best fight for me.”
Chris Cyborg vs Simon Silva
When: Sunday 10 am
where: Arena da Baixada, Curitiba, Brazil
How to watch: Fit.tv
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