Women's mixed martial arts (MMA) titleholder Cristiane Justino will step into a ring instead of cage later tonight (Sept. 20, 2013) to take on undefeated French champion Jennifer Colomb at Lion Fight 11, from the Freemont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, and live on AXS TV.
The reason behind taking a Muay Thai fight?
"Why not?" Justino tells MMAmania.com. "I can keep fighting. Invicta, they give me permission for competing in Lion Fights. Why not? I think it's good for me. I like to keep busy all the time. Keep busy, keep training, keep focus and keep motivation to train hard."
"I like competing. I have competed in Jiu Jitsu, in wrestling and now I compete in Muay Thai because I love Muay Thai. It's a new opportunity for me. I love competing. Most of my competition has been MMA, but always I learn something when I fight."
Justino seems to be in the mood for as much combat as possible, since returning from a year-long suspension due to testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol, which followed her one-sided trashing of Hiroko Yamanaka at Strikeforce: "Melendez vs. Masvidal" back in 2011.
After signing with the all-female promotion Invicta, "Cyborg" has picked up where she left off, winning both her fights in convincing fashion. First, she scored a technical knockout (TKO) victory over Fiona Muxlow at Invicta 5. She followed that up with a dominant fourth-round TKO over Marloes Coenen at Invicta 6, to win the inaugural Invicta featherweight championship.
The newly-crowned champion was originally scheduled to face Martina Jindrova at Lion Fight 11, but she bowed out due to injury and Colomb has stepped in on less than a week's notice to fight her.
"Jindrova has more fights," Justino says, when asked about the difference in the two fighters. "Colomb has 10 fights and 10 wins, and I think she is great too. Both girls are good."
There are 21 knockouts between the two fighters. For Justino, almost all have come in MMA, except for her lone kickboxing fight in Brazil almost six years ago, a win against Edna Gloria. Colomb has 10 knockouts in all 10 of her victories.
"Cyborg" contends this match-up against Colomb is a "dangerous fight." But she is "excited to fight her." Being able to stand for an entire fight is something she enjoys.
"Fighting stand-up is more exciting to watch. I like more," she said.
With Invicta granting her the freedom to fight outside of its promotion, this Muay Thai match could lead to others, but after her fight against Colomb, she will most likely be defending her Invicta 145-pound belt for the first time.
"I think November," she says, when asked on a returning date. "I will be ready for November but I don't know the date yet. I have contract for one more fight. I think end of year or November."
One date that may never be set is a "super fight" against Ronda Rousey. The potential match-up against the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight champion is "not in my hands," Justino explained.
"Everybody knows the UFC protected her. I'm ready for fight with anybody. I never choose opponent, never," she continued. "I train every day and I never choose girls for fighting. I don't know, I am in Invicta, you know. But when she first says she wants this fight, it's not in my hands. I'm not a promoter. I fight in Invicta, not in my hands. It's in their hands."
The former Strikeforce featherweight champion elaborates on the 10-pound weight disparity that has been discussed ad nauseam as the reason the potential fight can't happen.
"I can't make 135," she confessed. "I try, but I can't. 140, I did it one time to fight Shayna Bazsler. I make 140. That was five years ago and I think that would be too much for me. For fans, make it for them to watch the fight. I don't care about belts. I don't care. I like to fight."
She may not be fighting Rousey anytime soon and her first title defense for Invicta won't be until the end of the year. So, fight fans can turn to AXS TV on their local cable provider at 10 p.m. ET later tonight to watch her in action at Lion Fight 11.