Cris “Cyborg” Justino has faced many ups and downs during her short tenure with the UFC, but after everything she’s been through, the universally ranked top women’s featherweight in the world will finally compete for a title on Saturday night.
Cyborg will face Tonya Evinger to crown a new women’s featherweight champion after Germaine de Randamie was stripped of the title to make way for this title fight at UFC 214.
The fight is the culmination of a long campaign from Cyborg to get the UFC to finally add her division after nearly killing herself in an ill-fated attempt to fight at a lower weight in recent years.
Add to that, Cyborg has battled with UFC president Dana White publicly for years over her joining the roster, not fighting in the inaugural 145-pound title fight and her many grievances over how she’s been portrayed including a war of words with former champion Ronda Rousey.
Just recently, White apologized for some of the things he’s said about Cyborg while admitting “mistakes” were made in how her career was handled after she was signed to the roster but then placed in Invicta Fighting Championships where she could compete at a more natural 145-pounds.
Cyborg hopes that White’s words were genuine because she would like nothing more than to turn the page on the hurtful and hateful things that were said about her in the past as she looks to finally stake her claim as UFC champion.
“It’s really nice when someone [made] a mistake and then say that,” Cyborg said on Thursday. “A lot of people don’t say anything. Dana [White] respects that and I think I can forgive him but there are a lot of consequences, a lot of things are said about me on the internet, a lot of bad things. It’s hard to delete, you have to clean everything. In time, it’s going to change.
“He said he wants to change and work together. Let’s see. I give it a chance. Let’s see how it’s going to be working.”
In a previous interview with MMAWeekly.com, Cyborg revealed that the time was running out on her current UFC deal with only one fight remaining that has to be scheduled by October before she’s out of contract.
“I will have one fight remaining on my contract after July 29 and will re-evaluate where we are at after that,” Cyborg said in June.
“I have already done five fights under UFC contract, despite being on the shelf the last 10 months. It is my goal that we will be able to find a way to work together, I would love to continue fighting on the UFC platform as champion, and representing the country of Brazil on the biggest stages, but in order for that to happen I want to see the same company marketing start to work for my brand and not against.”
As of now, Cyborg says she hasn’t had any additional meetings with the UFC about extending her contract but hopes to sit down with them following her fight against Evinger on Saturday night.
Of course having a championship belt around her waist would certainly seem to favor her odds in getting what she wants in a new deal but Cyborg sounds hopeful that the two sides will eventually come to an agreement.
“I want to work together and let’s see what’s going to work at the next meeting,” Cyborg said. “I think we’ll keep talking and maybe after this fight.”