Bellator President Scott Coker isn’t impressed with the way the UFC handled the career of Cris Cyborg.
Cyborg, the former Strikeforce, Invicta and UFC featherweight champion, joined Bellator MMA earlier this month. Prior to her move to Bellator, Cris Cyborg competed in the UFC, and got off to a good start with stoppage wins over Leslie Smith, Lina Lansberg and Tonya Evinger, the latter of whom she defeated to win the vacant featherweight title.
She then successfully defended her belt against Yana Kunitskaya and Holly Holm. Her win-streak came to an end when Amanda Nunes defeated her at UFC 232. Fans were shocked when Nunes handed Cyborg a first-round KO loss — Cyborg’s first defeat in over a decade.
Since then, Cyborg fought Felicia Spencer in July and won by unanimous decision, but her relationship with the UFC by that point was significantly strained. UFC President Dana White disputed Cyborg’s claims that she was willing to rematch Amanda Nunes, and put her on blast on many occasions.
The UFC boss previously went as far as to say Cyborg looked like “Wanderlei Silva in a dress.” There were also criticisms that her relative inactivity was because the UFC wasn’t committed to building the featherweight division and were focusing their efforts elsewhere.
Coker believes the UFC’s actions in this case were negligible and he’s committed to treated Cyborg better.
“It’s our job to keep her active, which I think we’ll be very successful,” Coker said (via MMA Fighting).
“I think really she hasn’t been active because I don’t think the UFC has ever been [committed] to the 145-pound weight class division, that’s not their business. They’re in the business of the lighter weights but I don’t think they ever made the commitment to blow up the 145-pound weight class.”
There has recently been a small crop of fighters who joined the UFC to fight in the featherweight division, including Cyborg’s former opponent Felicia Spencer. However, Cyborg’s title defences have been against fighters who compete primarily at 135 pounds.
“She will have girls in her weight class to fight, whereas in the UFC, I think it was like, let’s see who we can sign to fight her for a one-off, or make people move up to fight her from a different weight class,” Coker said.
How do you think Cris Cyborg will do in Bellator?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/17/2019.