The difficulties of making 140 pounds for Cristiane Justino have been well documented during her first two Octagon appearances, but it appears that “Cyborg” might not be done competing at a catch-weight just yet.
The Brazilian improved to 2-0 in the Las Vegas-based promotion on Saturday evening, as she earned a dominant second-round TKO triumph over Lina Lansberg in the UFC Fight Night Brasilia headliner in Brasilia, Brazil. After the victory, Justino admitted that she would be willing to continue to fight at 140 pounds, but next time the stakes must be greater.
“If they want me to fight at 140 I can, but they have to be top 10 [opponents],” Justino said on Fox Sports 1.
Thus far, Cyborg’s UFC triumphs have come against Lansberg, an Octagon debutante, and Leslie Smith, who is unranked at 135 pounds. The reigning Invicta 145-pound queen realizes that there aren’t many bantamweights willing to face her at her natural weight class, but given recent struggles, cutting to 135 isn’t an option, either.
“I never picked opponents. I always let them pick the opponents for me,” she said at the post-fight press conference. “Anyone in the top 10 at 135 that wants to fight at 140 [I’ll fight]. I’ll do my sacrifice, I’ll cry to make 140….And we’ll make a great fight for the fans. I think that’s what makes MMA grow.”
While some have lobbied for the UFC to add a featherweight division to accommodate “Cyborg,” such a move doesn’t seem likely at this point. UFC Vice President and General Manager of Brazil Giovani Decker believes that Justino’s best option in the Octagon remains at 140 pounds.
“For me, Cyborg is already the featherweight champion. Even though we don’t have that division there is no one to fight here,” he said. “What I see for her is to do continue doing these catch-weights. I think it has to be an interesting fight for Cyborg, catch-weights against top fighters, and I think we’re going to have to study our options. That’s the way I see her future in the UFC, a future that needs to be built.”
And while each weight cut will undoubtedly lead to more tears and suffering, “Cyborg” seems willing to make that arduous journey. At this point, big fights are more appealing than chasing championship hardware.
“I’m very happy with the result. I had difficulty making weight. It was tough but everything worked out,” she said. “I’m thinking about vacation right now. I already have two belts at home. I’m not looking for another one. I want to have super fights for my fans.”