Los Angeles, CA — Bellator CEO Scott Coker had a lot of be pleased with following Bellator 238 on Saturday. The debut of Cris Cyborg went exceptionally well, with the former UFC champ earning a fourth-round TKO of Julia Budd in the main event.
That earned Cyborg her fourth major title in MMA, to go alongside her Strikeforce, Invicta FC, and UFC belts.
Young prospect Aaron Pico also got back to his winning ways, key for the promotion’s future, as he, alongside fighters like A.J. McKee and Joey Davis, represents the next generation for the company.
Speaking to Cageside Press and other media outlets following the fight, Coker addressed another subject — Cyborg’s idea of a grand prix for the women’s featherweights. Bellator, despite having held heavyweight, light heavyweight, welterweight, and now featherweight grand prix tournaments in recent years, has yet to commit to a similar format for the ladies.
“Listen I think we have eight girls that are solid,” Coker said Saturday, without committing to the idea. “But I tell you what, after that performance, she’s going to be a tough fight for anybody in that weight class. They’d better bring it, because she’s a beast. She’s dangerous, and explosive. She looked great. She looked like she didn’t miss a beat in my opinion. That’s why I call her the greatest fighter of all time in the female division. I think you saw it with your own eyes today.”
Cyborg’s longevity in the sport was another topic of conversation. On that front, Coker suggested that “I think that’s a testament to her will, and also her work ethic. She’s always in shape, she’s always training, she’s always working to get better as a fighter.”
“That’s my view of Cris Cyborg and my interpretation of my experience with her. She’s always trying to get better, always trying to learn. I think that’s why longevity has been good to her,” he continued. “It’s rare that you see that explosiveness that you saw tonight still ten years later from an athlete. You’ve got to give it to her. That’s just hard work, determination, and her will of making it happen. We signed her because I felt she could still do it, she felt she could still do it, and she proved tonight, she can still do it.”
Cyborg wasn’t the only fighter with a big performance Saturday, of course. There were plenty, but Pico’s return to the win column was a big one for Coker. “Pico’s back,” he proclaimed. “He looked great. He had a great knockout. I thought he was another fighter that had a lot of patience in there. He wasn’t just rushing in trying to finish. He looked like he took a step forward in his development as an athlete and as a martial arts fighter.”
Watch the full Bellator 238 post-fight press conference with Scott Coker above!