Cat Zingano and Cris “Cyborg” Justino may finally be getting the chance to settle their differences.
Following Zingano’s first round armbar submission win over Olivia Parker in April 2021, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight title challenger had seemingly earned a crack at Featherweight gold in Bellator. Instead, fans waited and waited as Zingano was eventually matched with Pam Sorenson before injury delayed her February return until this past weekend (Fri., June 24, 2022) at Bellator 282.
Still matched with Sorenson, Zingano picked up a dominant unanimous decision victory, extending her current streak as a Bellator Featherweight to three.
Ahead of the fight, Zingano reiterated her only reluctance to square off with the champion, calling for independent drug testing. Cyborg was notoriously suspended and stripped of her Strikeforce title after testing positive for stanozolol following her fight with Hiroko Yamanaka in 2011. In seven appearances with UFC, Cyborg never tested positive under the watch of United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Seeing the comments from Zingano, Cyborg was quick to highlight her rival’s record pre- and post-USADA tweeting; “Cat Zingano 9-0 with wins over Miesha [Tate] and [Amanda] Nunes. Enters USADA in 2015 and goes 1-4 competing. Now she’s 2-0 after leaving USADA and fighting on YouTube Friday night and thinks I care what she wants.”
Zingano responded to Cyborg after her win over Sorenson.
“Drug testing’s not new to me,” Zingano said in her post-fight media scrum at Bellator 282 (h/t MMA Junkie). “I’ve been wrestling since I was in college and working through that — I think she said something about ever since 2014 is when things changed for me but I don’t know if you remember my life in 2014, that was a really f—ked up time. So, she wants to overlook those kinds of things and think that you can walk through those without problems, like f—k her. I figured out what I’m doing here, I haven’t needed to do the things she’s needed to do in order to win. I just work hard and have the right people and believe in myself and whatever.
“I don’t know what all she’s saying, but I didn’t come here to fight with a sword with my mouth, I’m fighting with a sword in a fight,” she concluded. “I put my focus and energy on fighting her and that’s what I’m doing here.”
Originally scheduled to coach opposite Ronda Rousey on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18, culminating with a title shot, Zingano instead suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that left her out of action for the majority of 2013 up until Sept. 2014. During that time, her husband committed suicide.
Zingano very much seems to be the next in line for Cyborg at this stage, however, she limped out of the cage with seemingly another knee injury after defeating Sorenson. Updates on the severity are yet to be provided.
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