Cris Cyborg is staying put…
Bellator MMA has announced that it has re-signed the 37-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist, one of the greatest women’s MMA fighters of all time, to a new, multi-fight contract.
Cyborg had been a free agent since last summer, though she has remained the Bellator women’s featherweight champion. She competed in two boxing matches during her time out of contract, winning both.
While Cyborg returning to Bellator has always been the most likely scenario, she was entertaining other opportunities and even attended a PFL event in person recently.
PFL has been trying to make a huge fight between Cyborg and two-time PFL women’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison for more than a year.
Cyborg re-signing with Bellator doesn’t necessarily completely harpoon that fight, because PFL has expressed a willingness to co-promote with Bellator to make it happen.
“After receiving multiple offers from several promotions, I’m very happy that I was able to come to terms with Bellator and remain the face of their women’s featherweight division,” Cyborg said in a statement. “Scott Coker is a promoter that I’ve worked with and respected for many years. He’s done so much to further women’s MMA and give us a platform to showcase our skills. When making this decision, it was important to me that I was signing with the organization that I felt had the biggest names and the top talent at 145 pounds for me to challenge myself against. There is no question that all the top female featherweights are signed with Bellator and I can’t wait to get back in there and defend my belt.”
Bellator did note in its news release that Cyborg re-signing sets her up for title defenses against Cat Zingano and Sara McMann, two former UFC title challengers who are undefeated since signing with the promotion.
Cyborg (26-2, 1 NC) has lost just once since her pro debut in 2005, a knockout defeat to UFC double champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 in December 2018. She lives and trains in California and has been Bellator women’s featherweight champion since 2020 and has four successful title defenses. Cyborg is the only fighter to ever win championships in four different major promotions: the UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce and Invicta FC.
ESPN has her ranked No. 4 pound-for-pound in its women’s MMA rankings.