Cristiane Justino Venâncio, known professionally by her ring name ‘Cris Cyborg’ (formerly by her married name Cristiane Santos), is a Brazilian-American mixed martial. Her trainer is Rudimar Fedrigo, and she has a Black belt in Muay Thai under Rafael Cordeiro, and Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under André Galvão.
Known for being the most fearsome striker in the history of women’s MMA, she is currently signed to Bellator MMA, competing in the Women’s Featherweight division where she is the current Bellator Women’s Featherweight World Champion. She is also a former UFC, Strikeforce and Invicta FC World Featherweight Champion. She’s the only MMA fighter in history, male or female, to become a Grand Slam Champion, holding world championships across four major MMA promotions.
In 2019, the Brazilian was at the end of her contract with the UFC. She had entered a period of exclusive negotiations with the organization, demanding in particular a public apology from the president, Dana White, following a few statements. Dana simply decided to let the former champion leave. Arriving in 2016, Cyborg left the UFC with a 6-1 record.
The Brazilian holds an MMA record of 22 wins and only 2 losses, where more than 80% of her wins came by knockout / technical knockout. Prepare to get transfixed as we countdown Cris Cyborg’s Top 5 MMA Finishes (in descending order)!
- Vs. Lina Länsberg — UFC Fight Night: 95 (Sep. 24, 2016)
- Vs. Leslie Smith — UFC 198 (May 14, 2016)
- Vs. Daria Ibragimova — Invicta FC 15 (Jan. 16, 2016)
- Vs. Yana Kunitskaya — UFC 222 (Mar. 3, 2018)
- Vs. Tonya Evinger — UFC 214 (July 29, 2017)
This was a catchweight bout (140 lbs) and the first round was a fairly standard affair for Cyborg, with Lansberg managing to survive until the bell.
Cyborg muscled Lina “Elbow Queen” Lansberg into the cage repeatedly, landing knees and occasional flurries before completing an impressive double-leg power takedown and doling out some heavy ground-and-pound.
At the beginning of the second round, Cyborg clobbered Lansberg with a brutal right hand down that smashed her nose almost to pieces. Lansberg did little more than protect herself turtle-like from there, with Cyborg firing away.
Combinations led to more combinations, which led to another takedown. Lansberg could do little more than cover up, the referee was forced to call the contest at 2 minutes 29 of round two.
It was her UFC debut, at home in Brazil, a catchweight bout at 140 lbs.
Cyborg wasted no time dominating the pace. From the opening bell, she measured her distance with crisp combinations and it wasn’t long before she got into her stride.
A comfortable Cris Cyborg is a dangerous Cris Cyborg. Her devastating power and speed were strong on display. A left-right hook combination put Smith on the mat and allowed Cyborg to finish with a further solid, ground and pound cycle.
Ibragimova was able to survive longer than most of Cyborg’s recent opponents. After the champion dispatched her last two opponents in under a minute, Ibragimova was able to slow down Cyborg’s offense by clinging to her leg in the first round.
However, one can only cling to a leg for so long. Eventually, Ibragimova had to deal with the inevitable, Cyborg in fully vertical, stand-up battle mode which she simply wasn’t prepared for.
Just when it appeared as though Ibragimova would survive the first round, a thunderous right hand stopped the challenger two seconds before the bell to close the opening round.
Initially, the event was supposed to be headlined by ‘Max Holloway vs Frankie Edgar’ for the UFC featherweight championship. But the champion withdrew from the bout. Cyborg and Yana were called in at short notice to save the main event.
Kunitskaya showed that she much preferred the economy of energy approach making no unnecessary moves by neutralizing the champion from her first attack, leaving her on the floor.
Cyborg would get up whilst Kunitskaya tried dominating again, but this time without success. After defending another takedown from the Russian, Cyborg measured some distance and changed the pace so as not to rush.
Moments later Cyborg countered the Russian again with the Brazilian grabbing Kunitskaya’s leg whilst simultaneously levying a new straight punch on her. A torrent of blows then fell on the challenger who was stopped by the referee at 3 minutes 25 of the very first round.
It was her second successful title defense in the UFC.
Before the #1 slot, we need to make this honourable mention:
Vs. Julia Budd — Bellator 238 (Jan. 25, 2020)
The bout took place in Inglewood, California. After having largely dominated the fight from the very first engagement, with 38 of her 51 attempted shots landing on their target, Cyborg finished the job at 1 minute 14 of the fourth round.
She was the first fighter to hold 4 belts in four major MMA leagues.
During the fight, the new champion wore Los Angeles Lakers gear in tribute to Kobe Bryant, the NBA superstar player who died just hours earlier before her fight.
Julia Budd, 36, saw her winning streak at Bellator end at seven, she hadn’t lost since 2015 when she joined the organization.
After a back-to-back win in the UFC, Cyborg finally had a shot at the vacant title for Featherweight gold. (Germaine De Randamie was stripped of the title earlier in 2017).
Cris Cyborg won the bout by technical knockout at 1 minute 56 of the third round against Tonya Evinger. Cyborg heaped multiplying, accelerating, blows on Tonya to finally knock her out.
The Brazilian athlete proudly grabbed the belt becoming the second woman to hold it.