After signing an exclusive deal with Bellator MMA earlier this month, former UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg will make her debut against reigning champion Julia Budd on Jan. 25 at an event in Inglewood, Calif., per an official announcement last night (Sat., Sept. 28, 2019) during the Bellator 228 broadcast.
The Los Angeles Times was the first to report the title fight.
Cyborg, 34, had a rough falling out with UFC earlier this year after getting knocked out by Amanda Nunes last December and losing her featherweight title. Cyborg and UFC president Dana White went back-and-forth about a Nunes rematch and entangled themselves in a cruel game of he said, she said. At the end of it all, Cyborg was released from her UFC contract after taking out Felicia Spencer at UFC 240 this past July. Cyborg then signed with Bellator and president Scott Coker, who she has a history with under the Strikeforce banner, and the rest is history.
Despite her knockout defeat at the hands of Nunes, who seems to be destroying everyone she touches, Cyborg remains one of the biggest names in the sport today, let alone at the female level. She will be a true test for Budd in her anticipated Bellator MMA debut.
Budd, 36, has been Bellator’s women’s featherweight champion since 2017. That includes four total title fight victories, three defenses, and three knockout finishes. Her striking ability pairs very well with a dangerous ground game and it has allowed Budd to dominate each and every contender Bellator has thrown her way. Cyborg will obviously be a different kind of test for the Canadian, but fight fans shouldn’t be surprised if Budd is able to pull off the upset.
Stick with Mania for more updates on Cyborg’s Bellator MMA debut.