It was just a few hours after her fight with Rin Nakai in Brisbane, Australia and Leslie Smith was walking around the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary with her boyfriend Kevin Lum. Smith saw a notification on her phone from UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby, but thought it was a mistake.
About an hour later, Smith ran into Shelby at the zoo. He told her that the UFC was still looking for an opponent for Cris Cyborg at UFC 198 and the promotion was having trouble finding someone for her to face. Lum said Smith had sparred with Cyborg before. And Smith added that she’d absolutely be interested in fighting the Brazilian superstar.
The fight became a reality not too long after. And the UFC made it official by announcing it Monday: Cyborg will be making her UFC debut against Smith at UFC 198 on May 14 in Brazil. The bout will take place on the main card of a soccer stadium show in Cyborg’s native Curitiba.
UFC president Dana White tweeted Monday that Smith was the only one who wanted to move up in weight and fight Cyborg, the pound-for-pound best women’s fighter in the world and the Invicta 145-pound champion. Smith fights in the UFC’s 135-pound division and the promotion doesn’t even have a weight class at 145.
“I can’t believe that other people didn’t take it,” Smith said. “I seriously can’t believe that nobody else wanted this fight. As fighters, we’re adrenaline junkies. We’re just straight up adrenaline junkies. This is gonna be one of the biggest rushes that I possibly could have asked for.”
Right after she spoke to Shelby in Australia, Smith made sure to message Cyborg on Facebook. Smith wanted Cyborg to hear the news from her first since the two have a solid relationship.
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Source:: mma fighting