Strikeforce featherweight champion Cris Cyborg defended her belt for the third time Saturday night, nyquilling Hiroko Yamanaka in 16 seconds. Now Cyborg has a four fight contract she intends to use it to win over UFC President Dana White, and save women's MMA.
In an exclusive interview with Tatame, Cyborg elaborates.
Erik Engelhart: Since you’re so dominant on your weight division, do you consider fighting in other weight classes?
Cris Cyborg: Due to my contract, I had to stay a long time off the circuit, and with no opponents. But now I’ve signed a new contract, with four more fights on it, and I believe they’ll find someone for me to fight. Of course I can drop to the division below where there’re more girls fighting, but it’s actually already hard for me to cut weight to fight in the featherweight division.
EE: Do you intend to keep training Jiu-Jitsu with Andre Galvao?
CC: Well, I wanna dedicated myself a lot to Jiu-Jitsu now. I want to take this opportunity I’m having of training with Andre Galvao to learn the most I can. While I don’t have a MMA fight, you can be sure I’ll be fighting Jiu-Jitsu. When I’m not fighting MMA, I gotta train Jiu-Jitsu, sharpen my Boxing skills, because I’m a fighter after all. I’m a purple belt for a long time and I want to become an evolved purple belt and keep evolving, don’t stop improving just because I’m the belt holder.
EE: Where did this passion and will to improve your Jiu-Jitsu come from?
CC: I guess my true passion is towards my teacher (laughs), because Andre is a hell of a teacher and I’m learning more and more from him. After I fought at Mundial I decided I wanted to learn more and more. I know more no gi Jiu-Jitsu than with the gi on and as you start to learn how the gi works, it gets interesting. I had the opportunity to submit when I knocked her down, but I felt like finishing it with punches and so I did.
EE: You sent a message to Ronda Rousey, who was at the event and might be your next opponent.
CC: I said that because she just fought four times and keeps asking to fight me. I have nothing against her, but the truth is that I don’t really care because I don’t worry about who’s fighting who. When I sign the fight contract I start studying my opponent. I don’t even like to talk much because people want answers about why I said this about her and because she talks too much and while she’s talking I’m training. So, if Strikeforce wants to put us to fight, I’m ready, but I don’t know how it’ll be like.
EE: What message would you sent Dana White, who doesn’t seem much excited about keeping the female divisions in the UFC, when Strikeforce is extinct?
CC: I’ll take these four fights I have left in Strikeforce to win Dana White. It doesn’t matter if I do so by using one of my students, but I’ll be in the UFC someday. I know he has his reasons, and there’re really few women on the circuit, but I’ll keep on going, training, putting on good fights to cheer women up.
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