Cris “Cyborg” Justino to fight at UFC 198
By Edward Carbajal
Justino (15-1-1), widely known by her moniker “Cyborg” will be facing Leslie Smith (8-6-1) at UFC 198 today. The UFC broke the news early this morning on their web site and on twitter. She will be fighting at a catch-weight of 140 pounds and it will be her first fight under the UFC banner. Fans will remember she was the former Strikeforce champion and current Invicta FC Featherweight Champion. The fight was lined up quickly for Smith who just won a unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: 85 over Rin Nakai.
Curious to some that a catch-weight bout is being done for Justino now, as opposed to when she was seeking a match with former bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Obviously to make it a title fight back then would mean Justino would have to make the weight of 135 pounds, which is not only difficult but dangerous to go lower in her regular fighting weight. One of the many praises Conor McGregor got in his loss to Nate Diaz was that he was willing to face someone at a few weight classes heavier than he was dominant in. Easier to go up than to go down in weight but the fight was one fans wanted to see, title or no title and it is still being talked about now.
So what is the UFC doing here? If Justino wins, could this be the way to pave a 145 pound division in the UFC? Maybe, fans know her name and she might bring a lot in to the arena since UFC 198 is in her native Brazil. For all the weight divisions that exist for their male counterparts there are only two divisions for women in the UFC; strawweight at 115 pounds and bantamweight at 135 pounds. The UFC has put women’s MMA the map in recent years and could certainly repeat the same by adding more variety within the promotion. Especially with what happened in New York last week they could keep going with the flow and break more barriers for both the sport of MMA and women in sports in general.
What do you think? Justino’s chances look good considering she has not lost since 2005 and has won 13 of her 15 wins by KO or TKO. Can she keep up the momentum or will a win here force her to go down to the bantamweight division? Please comment below.
Edward Carbajal is a contributing writer for MMA at Page2sports.com and Frontproof Media. You can follow Edward on Twitter @Carbazel or at his website TheBlogBoardJungle.com. Check out his podcast on Spreaker.