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Miesha Tate details Cyborg’s Bellator MMA debut: ‘She’s damn near one of a kind’

Bellator 238 Julia Budd v Cris Cyborg Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Cris Cyborg made the most out of her Bellator MMA debut earlier this month at Bellator 238 when she finished women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd via fourth-round TKO to claim her fourth major world title.

The win didn’t come as that big of a surprise considering Cyborg’s professional track record, but the way the former UFC, Strikeforce, and Invicta FC champion dismantled Budd was quite impressive. Cyborg had to deal with constant pressure, multiple takedown attempts, and a relentless motor from Budd before finding her window for a finish in the championship rounds.

Cyborg’s approach to the fight differed from her usual gameplan and fellow MMA standouts certainly took notice. One being former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, who has competed against the likes of Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, Amanda Nunes, and Holly Holm during her MMA career.

“She’s damn near one of a kind and I liked her approach,” Tate said of Cyborg during a recent episode of MMA on Sirius XM. “You know what I learned from this fight with Cyborg and Julia Budd? Julia Budd, physically, I think is on par with Cyborg, and not very many women at the 145-pound level I would say compete with Cyborg, strength for strength. Julia Budd is one of those women. She’s just as big, if not bigger, if you can imagine, than Cyborg.”

So what exactly did Cyborg do right in order to hand Budd her first loss since 2011? Outside of landing the final shots in the fourth round to crumble Budd to the canvas, Cyborg’s ability to stay calm and maintain cage control truly allowed her to win this fight.

“Strength was not a discrepancy in this,” Tate said. “Cyborg was just the better woman that night. What I liked is that, in the first round Cyborg did not go out like a mad-woman like she’s done countless times before and I think was her mistake against Amanda [Nunes] and I said that. If she doesn’t respect that, she’s going to get hurt. Amanda has a right hand that can put anyone away, man or woman. I’m telling you right now, you get cracked with that thing, chances are you’re going down. Cyborg went out with reckless abandonment and she got put away. But what’d she learn after that? This is what is a telltale sign of a veteran of someone who is still evolving, even though she’s been in the game for such a long time.”

Cyborg, 34, may have lost a little bit of pizzazz after getting knocked out by Amanda Nunes back in December 2018, but the Brazilian legend regained all momentum with her recent finish over Budd. After all, no other female fighter in the history of the sport has won four major world titles and Cyborg essentially made it look easy.

“She went out in the first round with respect, she respected the champ, Julia Budd,” Tate said. “And then she came in stronger in the second round and she eventually got the fight done, she put the pedal to the metal and came out as the vintage Cyborg. It was exciting to watch the progression of how Cyborg unraveled the puzzle. We say it was a mauling but it was when Cyborg decided to turn it on, it wasn’t like this wasn’t a good fight. There was competitive points. Julia never got off like Cyborg did. Julia never got started and once Cyborg started going it was a slippery-slope for Julia Budd, it was the beginning of the end.”

We shall see where this win takes Cyborg in 2020 as she sinks her teeth into a new home, promotion, and division.

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