It may have looked like a cakewalk for Cristiane Justino against Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222, but that’s not how “Cyborg” prepared.
“I was ready for five rounds, and I didn’t know what Yana was going to do in the fight,” Justino said in a backstage interview on UFC.com. “But I was prepared for everything. I always think it’s going to be more rounds. I’m really happy with this fight.”
Justino barely broke a sweat in her second successful title defense, as she rocked Kunitskaya with her first punch of the fight, weathered an early takedown attempt and ultimately overwhelmed the Russian with heavy hands for a technical knockout victory at the 3:25 mark of round one. The 34-year-old Brazilian improved to 5-0 in the UFC, and only Holly Holm has been able to make it to the final bell against the Chute Boxe representative.
Before Justino agreed to face Kunitskaya on short notice to give UFC 222 a championship headliner following Max Holloway’s withdrawal from the card, there was plenty of speculation that “Cyborg” would be booked against Amanda Nunes in a champion vs. champion superfight. Now, Justino is ready for that challenge.
“I am waiting for Amanda now. She called me out and I want to fight her,” Justino said. Brazil against Brazil for me is sad. But I just want to remind everyone that she called me out and, when you call out Cyborg, Cyborg will answer.”
Of course, Nunes has more pressing matters to handle, as she has been booked to defend her 135-pound belt against Raquel Pennington at UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro on May 12. Should she win that fight, a pairing with Justino in the second half of 2018 would seem to make sense.
“I would like to fight in Vegas again. I don’t choose where I’m going to fight,” Justino said. “Amanda called me out, just send it to her and this fight can happen.”