Los Angeles, CA — Arguably the most recognizable women’s featherweight fighter in the world is a champion once more. At Bellator 238, Cris Cyborg captured the promotion’s 145lb title with a fourth-round TKO against Julia Budd.
It was Cyborg’s debut in the promotion, after parting ways with the UFC last year. In the past, she’d won gold in Strikeforce, Invicta FC, and of course the UFC. But after losing her title to Amanda Nunes just over a year ago, her already rocky relationship with the UFC brass went south quick.
After a final win against former Invicta FC champ Felicia Spencer, Cyborg reunited with old Strikeforce head honcho Scott Coker in Bellator.
Coker wasn’t the only familiar thing Saturday night. The Forum in L.A. (technically Inglewood) is the site of Cyborg’s defeat at the hands of Nunes at UFC 232 in December 2018. Returning to the same building to become champion again, said Cyborg, shows that God is “amazing.”
“I lost my belt here, I’m going back here to fight and I got a title,” she said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference, with Cageside Press in attendence.
“I feel happy to have the opportunity [to] make history,” she later added. Then revealed some surprising news. “I broke my nose two weeks before this fight. We keep training. I use a mask, Power Ranger mask, and we keep training, training, training. This is fighter life.”
Asked about her future endeavors with Bellator, Cyborg said “this is my new home. New era. I don’t have any problems. The boss wants to work with the fighters. Just thankful to be here in Bellator.” An obvious reference to her old boss, of course.
Problems, mainly a personality conflict with Dana White, peppered her time in the UFC. Later, asked about the Nunes loss and coming back to The Forum, she added “everything happens for a reason. If I don’t lose that belt that day, I’m not champion here now in Bellator. Here I’m happy. There I was not happy.”
Asked about the stretch of time from her first title to her latest, the Brazilian said that “I think every fight I try getting better.” Against Budd, she had the opportunity to show her ground game. Something fans had in the past questioned.
“Every belt is something special for me,” Cyborg answered when asked to rank her titles. “First one, Strikeforce, is the first featherweight division. Scott Coker made 145lbs.”
“Invicta I was coming from a hard time in my career, and everybody was saying ‘she needs to prove something,’ and I come and I fight for the Invicta belt,” Cyborg continued. “The UFC, we make the difference, we make history. They didn’t have my division over there. They never wanted me there. My fans put me there. I cut weight two times to 140, I almost killed myself. But we make history, we put the weight [class] there.”
Which brought her to her current home. “Now Bellator, we make a difference too. But here I’m welcome. I feel home.”
Watch the full Bellator 238 post-fight press conference with Cris Cyborg above!