After many, many months of hype, negotiations and a back-and-forth suspense on if the fight would be on UFC 219, Cris Cyborg will finally defend her women’s UFC featherweight title against Holly Holm. When the division was first created for the dominant Brazilian fighter, it’s the match-up we all thought would be for the belt and now it’s happening. Coach Jason Parillo vows a knockout victory for Cyborg, which may be aided by some “help” that the champ has received from some Brazilian fighters in New Mexico. However, Cyborg claims she didn’t need the advice and honorably refused it.
“Many Brazilians are excited about this fight. Both times I fought in Brazil at 63.5kg, the fans wanted me to face Holly [Holm], and since this fight was announced I was surprised by the number of Brazilian fighters who offered me support. Believe it or not, I had some Brazilians who trained in New Mexico who came to share things about their training. Although I thanked them for wanting to see me succeed and continue representing Brazil as champion, I did not let what they said influenced my training. In the end, I do not care what kind of training she’s doing for her confidence, wrestling or boxing. My team is preparing me for the best version of Holly Holm.”
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) December 6, 2017
“Holly is a unique fighter, she has done many rounds of boxing and even in MMA she has more career time than me. My team was able to see much of her fighting images and see specific fighters who can replicate how she strikes and the sequences she likes to make in her attack. Although I have never faced a fighter like Holly, I’m excited about the challenge and I want to show my team that I can execute the strategy they’ve done to make me win. I also do not think Holly ever faced anyone like me. I am a two-time world champion of jiu-jitsu, I know wrestling and I’m not afraid to change punches. I think Holly underestimates my speed and speed. I look forward to showing my athletic ability to the world on December 30th.” — Cris Cyborg speaking to Combate.com.
Both Holly Holm and Cris Cyborg have never fought a fighter like each other and look to be physical equals, which is what makes the scrap so compelling. As devastating a striker as Cyborg is, on paper and to Borg’s admission, Holm seems to have the edge on the feet. This is something Cyborg will look to sharpen with Cecilia Braekhus and boxing legend Mia St. John. The two will decide who is the undisputed best women’s featherweight in the world on December 30th at UFC 219.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/6/2017.