Cris Cyborg officially has a new home. The former Strikeforce, Invicta and UFC featherweight champion has signed with Bellator MMA.
Bellator President Scott Coker announced this exciting news on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.
Welcome to the family. pic.twitter.com/BQM29cCUP3
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) September 3, 2019
Cris Cyborg was a member of the UFC roster from 2016 to July of this year. Her Octagon career began with stoppage wins over Leslie Smith, Lina Lansberg, and ultimately Tonya Evinger, who she defeated to claim the vacant featherweight title. From there, she defended the title against Holly Holm and Yana Kunitskaya, before surrendering it to Amanda Nunes in a shocking first-round upset in late 2018. Cyborg last fought in July, when she defeated the tough Felicia Spencer by decision.
After this victory, Cyborg’s relationship with the UFC grew increasingly tense. After several weeks of public disagreements with UFC President Dana White, she was released by the promotion, officially becoming a free agent.
Though some fans expected Cyborg to be courted by Rizin or ONE Championship, Bellator quickly emerged as the frontrunner for her new home. Today, anyone who predicted she’d wind up with the Viacom-owned promotion was proven right.
Bellator’s women’s featherweight division is currently ruled by Canada’s Julia Budd. Budd, who has defended her Bellator strap three times, is a fantastic 13-2 overall, with her lone losses coming against future UFC champions in Ronda Rousey and Amanda Nunes. Highlights of her resume include wins over Germaine de Randamie, Charmaine Tweet, Arlene Blencowe (twice) and Marloes Coenen.
It’s unclear whether Cyborg will get an immediate title shot against Budd or not, but it certainly seems likely.
The decorated MMA legend has a long-standing professional relationship with Coker, who previously helmed the now defunct promotion Strikeforce.
How do you think Cris Cyborg will do in Bellator?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/3/2019.