During the first ONE tournament in the United States, Cris Cyborg invited our friends Eduard Folayang and Joshua Pacio, two-time ONE champions, to train at her gym. Thanks to them, we got the chance to record an exclusive interview with one of the top female MMA stars and current Bellator champion Cris Cyborg.
The Brazilian discussed why Fedor Emelianenko is her favorite fighter, compared Scott Coker and Dana White, commented on a potential confrontation with Kayla Harrison, and named three women who have had the biggest impact on women's MMA.
"It's important to have competition between promotions"
- Why are you following the development of MMA in Asia?
- It's important to have competition between promotions. It's good for the fighters to have more than one place to perform. It's great that ONE held a tournament in America and showed how much the sport has grown in general. Asian fighters got a chance to shine on the world stage.
I love Asia, I've been to a lot of places here - Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, but I haven't had a chance to visit China or the Philippines yet. I know there are a lot of beautiful places there. I hope to train with Eduard (Folayang) and Joshua (Pacio) on their turf and even visit Manny (Pacquiao) in the Philippines and meet all my fans there.
"Fedor never showed any emotion when he entered a fight"
- There are many iconic fighters in your country, Brazil, but in some interviews you mentioned that your favorite is Fedor Emelianenko. What qualities do you like him for?
- I like Fedor for his fighting style. He never showed any emotion when he entered a fight and in my opinion he proved to be the greatest heavyweight of all time.
- Would you like to participate in the development of women's MMA, create your own team like the Fedor Team?
- I have my own private training center in California where I often invite some partners to train, but for me the most important thing is my own fighting career. Perhaps when I retire from the sport I will consider the idea of forming a team like Fedor's, but for now I prefer to invest my time in my own career and use any extra energy to promote my female empowerment program known as Pink Belt Fitness.
"My fight with Harrison is a big event for the fans"
- Your new deal with Bellator allows you to fight under the rules of boxing. Would you say that Scott Coker is a more flexible and better manager than UFC head Dana White?
- I love working with Scott Coker and Bellator. We've come a long way together as a fighter and a promoter over the years. Dana White has his own business and he decides how he wants to run his company, but for me, the Bellator environment is perfect.
- How do you feel about a potential fight with Kayla Harrison if she signs with Bellator?
- I have no problem fighting Kayla. I think it's a great fight for the fans. A lot of people think it's going to be a confrontation of punching and grappling, but I have a black belt in BJJ and have fought at the national level in Brazil. I think I'm a better fighter, and that's why I can find a way to win the fight.
"After leaving the UFC, I signed one of the most lucrative contracts in the history of the sport"
- Why was your contract with the UFC not renewed for a rematch with Amanda Nunes?
- The UFC's women's bantamweight division is not active. I tried to get an immediate rematch, but Nunes didn't fight at that weight for another two years. When the UFC couldn't offer a rematch, I had one last fight under my contract, defeating #1 contender Felicia Spencer, and then became a free agent. I later signed one of the most lucrative contracts in the history of the sport by signing with Bellator.
- Name three women who have had the biggest impact on women's MMA.
- There are a lot of women who have had a huge impact on women's MMA and I think it's hard to say who has had the "biggest impact". There are several women I admire for what they have done for the sport, including former Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen, Japanese athlete Megumi "Mega Mega Mega" Fujii, and Invicta FC promoter Shannon Knapp. Although she has never competed in a professional MMA fight, many female UFC stars began their careers in her Invicta FC promotion.Bet on MMA with 1xBet