Cris Cyborg scored a fourth-round TKO over Julia Budd in the main event of Bellator 238 to win the Bellator women’s featherweight title on Saturday.
Cyborg became the first fighter to win titles in Bellator, Strikeforce, Invicta FC, and the UFC during their career.
Cyborg Finds Her Place in Bellator
Budd came into the bout riding an 11-fight winning streak. Her last loss came against Ronda Rousey back in 2011.
Cyborg (22-2) bounced back from a loss in December 2018 to Amanda Nunes that cost her the UFC women’s featherweight title. After beating Felicia Spencer in July, Cyborg was let out of her UFC contract, with president Dana White saying that the promotion was done with her after he had accused her of ducking a rematch with Nunes.
“I feel like everything happens for a reason,” Cyborg said after her win. “If I did not lose the belt that day, I would not be here now, champion of Bellator. And here, I’m happy. [In the UFC], I was not happy.”
Budd pressured Cyborg early on, using her strength to try to control the fight. But Cyborg dominated the late rounds, nearly finishing the fight from full mount position in the third before landing a vicious combination to stop the fight in the fourth.
“It was really intense in there, and I’m proud of both ladies,” Bellator president Scott Coker said afterwards. “Julia Budd is a great fighter. She’s someone who’s had the belt for a long time, and I think everybody can now see why. She’s gotten so much respect among her peers and fans.”
Cyborg’s next opponent may not appear in the Octagon. Before Saturday’s fight, she expressed an interest in trying boxing next, and her contract with Bellator allows her to do so. Coker said he’s been in contact with boxing promoters about a possible crossover bout.
“I don’t have anything for now,” Cyborg said of the possibility. “One thing is, I never choose my opponents. I just have to be ready and let my manager deal with this.”
Blaydes Makes Claim for Heavyweight Title Shot
Curtis Blaydes shook up the UFC heavyweight division on Saturday when he knocked out Junior dos Santos just over a minute into the second round of the UFC Fight Night 166 Main Event in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The 28-year-old Blaydes (13-2) came into the fight ranked as the No. 3 contender in the heavyweight division. After he won by pummeling dos Santos against the fence, forcing a stoppage from the referee, Blaydes said he wants a chance to prove himself against current champion, Stipe Miocic.
“I want that title shot,” Blaydes said after the fight. “I’m next. I’ve shown I’ve got the wrestling and I’ve got the hands. I don’t know what else I’ve got to do. I want the title shot.”
Former heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier wants another title shot, too. On Monday, the 40-year-old Cormier said that if he doesn’t get a third bout with Miocic by sometime this summer, he may retire from MMA.
“Every day that passes does not benefit me. I’m a realist, I understand that,” Cormier said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “When I fight, it’s going to be for the championship or I’m not going to fight. This is not about money. This is about finishing what we started. Also because I know I can beat him.”