Cristiane Santos has yet to be truly tested since she set foot in the United States in 2008.
It has been five up and five down for the Brazilian powerhouse including victories over Shayna Baszler, Gina Carano and Marloes Coenen. .
"Cyborg" will look to continue her dominance as she puts her title on the line against Jan Finney at the Strikeforce: "Fedor vs. Werdum" event on June 26 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
Since my Portuguese Rosetta Stone was lost in the mail I enlisted the help of her manager, Flavio Scorsato, to help facilitate the interview.
We talked about her transition to living and training full-time in the United States, Strikeforce assigning opponents at the last minute and singing Black Eyed Peas at the top of her lungs.
Check it out:
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): I wanted to start by asking Cris if she was now living and training in San Diego at The Arena full-time?
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): She wants to thank you for the interview. She says she is living full time in San Diego now and most of the time she trains at The Arena. She does do specific training like Muay Thai and boxing at other places. Definitely the place for her camp is The Arena.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Does that mean she has left Chute Boxe for good?
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): She still considers Chute Boxe her team. It's always going to be her team. They just don't have anything here in San Diego in the city she lives in and that's why she's been training at The Arena. They've been supporting her but her team is still Chute Boxe. She just thinks it's better for her to be in the United States.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): What is the most difficult thing she has encountered while getting acclimated to living in the US?
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): She says when she first moved here everything was new and everything was fun and different. Now the most difficult part is the distance from the family. She is very attached to her Mom and her family. She's homesick. The language barrier too. She's still learning English.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Is she a fan of any American music or TV shows yet? If so, what?
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): Actually, she mainly watches movies. She loves to watch anything related to fighting. She watches a lot of fight stuff on the Internet too. The only thing she likes to watch on TV is Oprah. As far as American music she likes a lot of stuff on the radio but she doesn't know most of the names. She really likes the Black Eyed Peas. She also loves to sing in her car. Whenever she drives she is singing.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Cris is coming off a nice victory over Marloes Coenen in January of this year. Coenen was not happy with the referee stoppage that night. Did she think it was justified?
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): She said Marloes was on the ground flinching and just defending. She doesn't know sometimes because of the angle that the referee sees stuff. It's different so she doesn't know if he could see what Marloes was doing - If she was defending or just doing nothing. She was just doing her part. She thinks it was legit, but whatever the referee decides that is what it is.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Was Coenen the toughest opponent she has faced in her entire career?
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): She says she doesn't see any of the opponents as the toughest one or any of the fights. All the fights are the same thing. They always have something difficult. They always have something challenging. She has to switch her technique specifically for each fight. Sometimes she needs to train more on the ground. Sometimes she needs to train more standup. She can't tell who is the toughest. Each fight is a specific challenge.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Jan Finney is her next opponent on June 26. Strikeforce has been known to give their fighters an opponent at the last minute. Is she okay with this?
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): She would love to know. It is always better if she knows who she is going to fight. Her point of view is that a fighter is a fighter. You have to be training all the time. Someone could call you up and you have got to be ready. She doesn't mind. She always tries to train the hardest and the earlier she knows the more specific her training can be.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Cris has looked extremely dominant since she started fighting in the US both in EliteXC and Strikeforce. Does she feel like she still has room to improve on her game?
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): She definitely has a lot of room for improvement. She has been fighting for a long time, but every time she can see the mistakes she made. She always knows she can correct something and get better and better at other stuff. She says that if she starts thinking she is the best then she would be making a big mistake.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): None of her opponents have really been able to expose any sort of definitive weakness in her game. What does she think is her biggest weakness if she had to pick one?
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): She thinks one of the most important things in a fight is you have to be very prepared physically. Her mind is like 70-80%. It doesn't matter if she knows a lot of things. You can't show up for a fight if you are not prepared physically. She knows in every single area she has stuff to improve on. She would rather have her opponents show her what are her weakest points.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Cris has finished seven of her nine opponents by way of knockout. Does she go into each fight specifically looking for the knockout?
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): She definitely always welcomes the knockout, but a good match is a good match. She goes into the fight to win. She would be happy with a knockout, but if she can win by other means like submitting that is welcomed too.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Are there any female fighters out there that she has not fought that she would like to?
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): She said that she does not have anyone in mind that she wants to fight. She doesn't know anyone, but she has open doors. Whoever wants to fight her she is going to be happy to fight.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Any message that she would like to pass along to her fans or any sponsors she would like to thank?
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): She wants to thank all the American fans first of all. She is far from home but feels very welcome. She is happy to have the American fanbase. She really loves the audience here and she is happy to fight for them. She wants to thank Tapout and Hitman Fight Gear. She also wants to thank The Arena MMA team.
Derek Bolender (MMAmania.com): Thanks to both of you for your time.
Cris Cyborg (via Flavio Scorsato): Thank you, Derek. Thank you.
Derek Bolender is a frequent contributor to MMAmania.com. He is also a freelance writer who has contributed to outlets such as CBSSports.com, FoxSports.com, and FIGHT! Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekBolender and on Facebook.