After years of rumors and speculation, the top women’s featherweight fighter is finally making her way to the UFC. It was announced today that Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino will fight on the UFC 198 card that will be held in her native Brazil.
Cyborg (15-1) will face UFC bantamweight Leslie Smith (8-6-1). The bout will be at a catch-weight of 140-pounds. That is five pounds under the normal fighting weight for Cyborg who has dominated the women’s featherweight division for going on eight years now.
Her power and strenght have always kept Cyborg in the spotlight for MMA fans but in the past couple of years casual fans have gotten to know her due to her war of words with former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
Prior to her loss to Holly Holm, many considered Cyborg as the only threat to Rousey’s undefeated streak. Cyborg constantly called for a catch-weight bout between her and Rousey and even dared the UFC megastar to come up and fight at 145-pounds. The UFC never put the fight together but rather signed Cyborg to a contract and allowed her to compete exclusively under the Invicta FC banner, which has its event broadcast on the UFC’s Fight Pass.
Having the bout take place at 140-pounds rather than the featherweight limit of 145 shows the UFC’s reluctancy to officially add another women’s division. As of right now the UFC currently has a women’s strawweight (115-pounds) and bantamweight (135-pounds) division.
In Smith, Cyborg will find an opponent who is coming off a decision win at the UFC Fight Night event in Brisbane, Australia. Smith is 2-2 in the UFC but has been fighting professionally since 2009.
Cyborg is currently the Invicta FC’s featherweight champion and has gone 5-0 with the organization. All of her wins have come by way of knockout.
UFC 198 will take place on May 14 from the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil. The card will be headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic.