So many people have tried and failed against Cris Cyborg over the years.
“So many people have tried and failed, but not all of them,” Bellator 249 title challenger Arlene Blencowe corrected at this week’s Bellator 249 media day. “I feel like there’s obviously things that have been exposed in recent times, and hopefully I can also expose them.”
Blencowe (13-7) has the distinction of being the challenger in Cyborg’s first defense of her featherweight title. And the Australian fighter, who has unquestionably put her time in, feels that the fearsome Brazilian’s fight against Amanda Nunes shattered the mystique of Cyborg.
“Definitely,” she agreed. “At the end of the day she’s human. She is beatable.”
“Going back to the Nunes fight, when you watch it, it really could have gone one of two ways. They were swinging, and all it would have taken [for the opposite outcome] is one of Cyborg’s punches to land on Amanda,” observed Blencowe, who is obviously more than just an interested party. “It really is a shame that a rematch didn’t happen between the two, that would have been an interesting fight.”
“It did show that she is beatable. Something that no one else has done,” the Australian fighter, who has shared the cage with the likes of Julia Budd and Marloes Coenen, continued. “I take, definitely, comfort in that. I always said the way to beat her was just to put it back on her. It’s going to be exciting on Thursday.”
Blencowe, now 37, is a bit of an oddity in the MMA world. She didn’t take her first fight until the age of 30 — precisely two days past her 30th birthday, to be exact. She had taken up boxing a year prior, a pursuit she continued up to 2015. Her first nine fights in MMA came in her native Australia, which kept her under the radar until signing with Bellator. Even then, she seemed to keep a relatively low profile outside of a pair of fights with Julia Budd, both losses.
The last two years, however, had seen her put together a three-fight win streak, with two finishes, plus a unanimous decision against ex-UFC fighter Leslie Smith. In the UFC, only one of Cyborg’s opponents, Felicia Spencer, was a true featherweight (albeit, Amanda Nunes has settled in nicely).
Preparing for a title shot is a tough job at the best of times, which no one is in right now. But despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Blencowe admitted this week that “we’ve been lucky. There was a period there where all the gyms were closed in Australia, which meant we couldn’t go to our gyms and do our training sessions. I’m lucky that I’ve got a setup at home, which allowed me to keep training.” On top of that, things back home have been open for a while now, she added.
“It’s been a good three months now that the gyms have been opened back up, so all has been back to normal for me in a sense,” Blencowe stated. “I’ve had a very solid camp. Took on a lot of help from other gyms, and had more training partners come on board. I was pushed very, very hard this fight camp.”
Watch the full Bellator 249 virtual media day scrum with Arlene Blencowe above.