On Tuesday, Bellator CEO Scott Coker announced that Cris Cyborg was signing with the promotion. This news came after she decided to leave the UFC to join Coker for the first time since her days in Strikeforce. Here’s the top three opponents in Bellator for Cyborg:
3: Leslie Smith
The last time these two met was at UFC 198, where Cyborg defeated Smith via TKO in the first round. This marked Cyborg’s UFC debut in her homeland of Brazil. After the loss, Smith began a two-fight win streak before joining Bellator, where she beat Sinead Kavanagh by majority decision.
As for Cyborg, she captured the UFC Featherweight title, eventually losing it against Amanda Nunes. This would be the fight to make, considering Smith has only improved over time. Although their first encounter wasn’t evenly matched, Cyborg would love to make a strong first impression in Bellator.
2: Olga Rubin
After losing to Julia Budd to end her undefeated streak and shot to win the Featherweight title, Rubin would benefit from a fight with Cyborg if booked. Rubin is 4-1 in Bellator and has a 6-1 MMA record. A fight with Cyborg would be great for both women, as it could decide whether Cyborg gets an early crack at the title. Bellator wouldn’t put Rubin or Cyborg in fights that make no sense, but pinning them against one another is a perfect formula.
1: Julia Budd
Bellator Featherweight Champion Julia Budd has been tearing up the division since defeating Marloes Coenen in 2017. With a previous 11-fight winning streak, Budd eventually saw a loss to Ronda Rousey in 2011 at Strikeforce. If Bellator decides to give Cyborg an immediate shot at the title, it would send shock waves throughout the MMA world.
Budd is 8-0 in Bellator and is 13-2 in her MMA career. With a dangerous Cyborg now in the picture, it could be one of the biggest title fights in Bellator history.
Photo Credit: Zimbio, The Mac Life, MMA Junkie
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