Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC
Cristiane Justino, “Cyborg” to you and me, finally made her UFC bow on Saturday night—beating Leslie Smith in devastating fashion in front of her hometown crowd in Curitiba, Brazil, at UFC 198.
32 strikes were thrown and 21 were landed. They were enough to mow down a game Leslie Smith, who deserves plaudits for being the only woman willing to take on the Invicta FC featherweight champion.
Cyborg was in imperious form. Her pure fighting aggression can only be compared to that of fellow Brazilian Wanderlei Silva, but she has the technical nous to make that frenzied style truly count. If the UFC were unsure about the future of Cyborg in the promotion and treated this fight as a one-off, I seriously doubt they are now.
However, the one galling aspect to Cyborg’s performance was after the fact. The Brazilian’s English has improved to no end since having relocated in the USA. But, her all-Portuguese post-fight interview had an ominous omission—there was no Ronda Rousey callout.
It was an omission that was picked up on by the media present at the event. When questioned about her unwilling to commit to picking a fight with the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion in Rousey, Cyborg stood by her measured decision: “I believe it was my moment. Tonight was my moment and it was historic. I never thought I’d be sitting here tonight. I never thought I’d be here after everything I’ve went through and it’s a historic moment for me. Talking about her is something that people are going to talk about. But, I let my fans decide on who my opponent will be and I just have to be ready.” Cyborg knows who her fans want her to fight by now, surely?
It would appear the feedback from both incredulous fans and ….View full article