Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Cris Cyborg is looking to step into the squared circle for her next fight.
In April, Cyborg successfully defended her featherweight title with a unanimous decision win over Arlene Blencowe at Bellator 279. The win was Cyborg’s fourth straight title defense under the Bellator banner and her second defense against Blencowe, having submitted the Australian fighter back in 2020. So now, with Cyborg effectively lapping the division, the featherweight champion wants to branch out to the realms of boxing for her next fight.
“I would like to do a boxing fight. It’s the perfect time for me,” Cyborg said on The MMA Hour. “I can do that. I’m ready. I want to do that. It’s a challenge. In the beginning of my career, before I was doing MMA, I was doing boxing. I’ve competed in wrestling, Muay Thai, BJJ, but I’ve never had a boxing opportunity, and before I finish my career, for sure, this is one of my dreams. I like striking. All my fights finish by KO. I like to strike, so it’s going to be good.”
According to Cyborg, her current contract already allows for her to pursue boxing matches without the input of Bellator, however, she has been kept so busy defending her title, that she didn’t want to take time off to focus on boxing. Now though, Cyborg says her team is looking into details for her professional boxing debut, including potentially being on the undercard of Jake Paul’s next bout, which is being targeted for Aug. 13.
“We’re looking for the promoter and seeing who is going to be the opponent,” Cyborg said. “At this moment in my career, I want to do a boxing fight.
“I’m ready for August. It would be perfect to be on the same card [as Paul]. What he did for Serrano was amazing. It could be big.”
Cyborg and Paul have some familiarity with one another, with Cyborg taking part in the diss track Paul released targeting UFC president Dana White, a man who Cyborg has had her own issues with. Cyborg was also in attendance for the Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano boxing match this past weekend that Paul helped promote. But in a perfect world, Cyborg says she would not face Paul’s fighter Amanda Serrano, but instead would target the winner of the bout on Saturday, Katie Taylor.
“Katie Taylor,” Cyborg said when asked who she wanted to box. “It would be a big challenge for me. I like challenges. But Eddie [Hearn, Taylor’s promoter] has been calling me out for a little while to fight her, so maybe it’s time.”
A boxing match with either Taylor or Serrano seems unlikely at this point, but given her stardom, a different matchup seems very possible for Cyborg next. But Cyborg still intends on finishing her career out in MMA, and with free agency looming, the 36-year old champion plans to take a serious look at where she will be signing next, especially since it may be the final contract of her storied career.
“I love working with Scott [Coker], I love working with Bellator,” Cyborg said. “That’s family. But it’s important because maybe this is the last time I’m going to be a free agent, and at this point, I feel like I need to maximize my contract if it’s the last one in the sport. So let’s see what’s going to happen. I’m excited.
“Depending who I’m going to sign with, who I’m going to be with, they’re going to have to find girls for me to fight. The big thing is I want to fight three fights a year and I want to continue to be active and finish my career fight. I want to be active. I think the first challenge for them too is to bring more girls to fight me, for sure.”