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Cris Cyborg: I have to go to Bellator to be real champ at 145

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UFC 219: Cyborg v Holm Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

There’s no disputing that UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg is the most dominant female fighter in mixed martial arts (MMA) today. Unfortunately for the Brazilian knockout artist, she hasn’t been able to display her elite skill set against competition in her own weight class.

Instead, UFC has force fed Cyborg countless bantamweights en route to forming a one-woman featherweight division. So even though Cyborg is getting her wish to compete in UFC and headline pay-per-view (PPV) cards, she doesn’t understand why the promotion has been so reluctant to bring in some true featherweight contenders.

“If you think about it, I’ve had my belt for 145 for like 1 year,” Cyborg said during a recent interview with Split Decision MMA (transcribed by “They don’t sign any girl at 145, they don’t put any girl fights (in my division) on the undercard…They don’t sign any girls 145. How you gonna grow the division if you don’t sign anybody? When Dana White says ‘ahh we don’t have girls for the division,’ it just sounds crazy to me.”

In four UFC appearances, Cyborg has met and defeated the likes of Holly Holm, Tonya Evinger, Lina Lansberg, and Leslie Smith. While all competent contenders, none of those women are true featherweights. In order to really test her ability and cement herself as the best 145-pound fighter in the world, Cyborg believes she may have to compete outside of UFC.

“Every week I see Bellator sign new girls at 145,” Cyborg said. “They make a division for me in Bellator. If I finish this contract, for me to be the real champ at 145 I have to go to Bellator and fight all the girls there.”

While Cyborg would be free to do whatever she wanted to after her contract with UFC, it’s hard to believe the promotion would let its biggest female draw jump ship for Bellator MMA. It’s more likely that UFC would finally start signing some featherweight bodies to pile into a vacant division and give Cyborg a real opportunity to rule the weight class.

Getting Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson inside of the Octagon would be a good start, and could help relieve Cyborg’s current reservations.

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