Cris “Cyborg” Justino has joined Bellator MMA as many fans expected. With her history with Scott Coker from the days of Strikeforce, it should come as no surprise the two are willing to work together again. Coker teased the announcement on social media a few hours before making it official.
Welcome to the family. pic.twitter.com/BQM29cCUP3
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) September 3, 2019
“You guys know I have a lot of girls that want to fight 145 pounds,” Justino said in Coker’s post. She said that means fans, “are gonna have a lot of fights per year.” In a press release from Bellator current, champ Julia Budd, Olga Rubin, Arlene Blencowe, Janay Harding and Leslie Smith were listed as featherweights she’s in line with. The release also said the deal between Justino is, “the largest of its kind in women’s MMA history – exclusively secures “Cyborg’s” talents with a multi-year, multi-fight contract.”
Coker and Justino have a lot of history together making women’s MMA history. She was the inaugural Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion, defeating Gina Carano for the title in 2009 and Coker seems happy to be working with her again. “I have worked with countless athletes over my thirty-plus years of promoting combat sports, but there is no one quite like ‘Cyborg’,” Bellator President Scott Coker said in Bellator’s press release.
“‘Cyborg’ is the most dominant female fighter in the history of the sport and she will be a perfect fit here at Bellator.” -Scott Coker
In her last fight in the UFC, she said she would explore free agency and was eventually released by the UFC. While fighting there she fought as a bantamweight, eventually moving to featherweight to claim the featherweight title. She lost the title to Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 and beat former Invicta FC featherweight champion, Felicia Spencer in her last fight there at UFC 240.
With the way Bellator has been churning out Grand Prix events, the roster of 145-pound contenders would certainly make for an exciting string of events to include Justino in the future.
Who do you think will be her first fight?