Cris Cyborg has been around MMA since 2005, watching first-hand as female fighters have taken on main events for big UFC cards and from other promotions.
Saturday night, Cyborg defends her UFC female featherweight title against Holly Holm in the main event of UFC 219 from Las Vegas and the T-Mobile Arena. The chance to headline the year-end show is a big one, and the 32-year-old Brazilian understands that.
“Very happy, very thankful for the opportunity,” Cyborg said. “I feel great. My body is ready. I am very excited about (facing Holm).”
The fight with Holm is the chance for Cyborg to prove herself against not only a former UFC champion, but a multi-time former boxing world champion. Cyborg has won each of her three UFC bouts via finish and is 18-1 overall in her career with one no-contest.
“I never gonna say that,” she said. “People like you and (Michael) Bisping say that. You just have to improve your game and get better with each fight. People can say that.”
As for her opponent, Cyborg isn’t sure where she ranks right on in regards to her career list of victims.
“She has a lot of experience, a lot of boxing fights,” Cyborg said. “I can’t say if she’ll be the toughest fight for me. She has good footwork from boxing, but this is a fight. People want to watch an exciting fight and you can’t just be running.
“We train a lot for five rounds. Let’s see what will open it up for the fight.”
Cyborg claimed the vacant UFC featherweight title at UFC 214 this past July when she stopped fellow former Invicta FC champion Tonya Evinger in the third round with knees to the body. Last year, she made her Octagon debut, finishing Lina Lansberg in the main event and doing the same to Leslie Smith at UFC 198.