It was only a matter of time before Cris Cyborg signed with another major promotion after her exit from the UFC. The only question was simple: who made her the right offer? At the end of the day, an old friend beat everyone to the (figurative) punch.
Bellator President Scott Coker announced that the promotion has signed Cyborg to a multi-fight deal. Word going around is that it is one of the largest in women’s MMA history.
Cyborg (21-2, 1NC) finished her last fight in her deal with the UFC back in July at UFC 240, beating Felicia Spencer via unanimous decision. Following the fight, Cyborg expressed interest in a rematch against Amanda Nunes.
Shortly after, however, a video was released attempting to show Dana White’s lack of commitment towards her. She stated it was her media team and not her, but Dana wasn’t having it. He famously said, “We’re out of the Cyborg business” in a video posted onto YouTube. That was the last of their many times butting heads, dating back to before Cyborg’s days in the UFC.
Cyborg ended up 6-1 in the UFC.
Signing with Bellator was one of the most logical choices out of all of Cyborg’s options. She has worked with Coker before under the Strikeforce banner, and a relationship with DAZN can result in a plethora of funds.
“I have worked with countless athletes over my thirty-plus years of promoting combat sports, but there is no one quite like ‘Cyborg’,” Coker stated in a press release. “Her ability to excite the crowd from the moment she makes her walk to the cage is special, and having had the pleasure of promoting several of her fights in the past, I am looking forward to the opportunity of promoting her once again. ‘Cyborg’ is the most dominant female fighter in the history of the sport and she will be a perfect fit here at Bellator, where champion Julia Budd and the other women that make up best female featherweight division in the world have eagerly awaited her arrival.”
The former UFC, Invicta and Strikeforce Featherweight Champion can now set her sights on a growing Bellator women’s roster. One of the first fighters many expect her to go after is Julia Budd, the current Bellator Featherweight Champion. Budd (13-2) last fought in July, only needing two minutes to take out Olga Rubin via TKO.
The goal to become a multiple-brand champion is right there for Cyborg to take. There is no word yet who she will be fighting first, however, or where the fight will be taking place.
If a rejuvenated Cyborg can help create a spark in Bellator’s women’s division and give the company the exposure they need, Scott Coker might end up walking out of this deal with a major victory under his belt.