Following her UFC debut in Curitiba, Brazil, everyone has been wondering what's next for Invicta FC featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino. What's immediately next is easy. She is going to defend her Invicta FC 145-pound title.
But that's where things get somewhat fuzzy.
In an open letter to her fans, Cyborg on Tuesday stated that she would defend her belt and this sit down with her team and see what is next. Will that include returning to the UFC? She hopes so, but Cyborg also feels that she has something bigger to fight for outside of bending to the will of others who want her to compete at 135 pounds.
Cyborg, in her letter, called for the UFC to level the playing field for women in the Octagon, saying that she will “fight for all of (women)” and make the UFC “give the women the same opportunities the men are being given.”
Cyborg reiterated that she fully intends to continue to defend her 145-pound championship and fight for inclusion of that weight class, but also that she was open to taking catchweight super fights. She did not directly say that she would never fight at 135 pounds, but the tone of what she said certainly cast a enormous shadow of doubt over the idea.
Cris Cyborg's Open Letter in its entirety:
“I am so grateful to my fans and the sport of #WMMA!! I am getting thousands of messages from girls all over the world thanking me for standing up.
I won't abandon you or my weight division! Not all of us weigh 115 or 135 pounds. Some of us are bigger and some even smaller…but we all deserve a stage to showcase our talents.
We deserve the same opportunities as The men! They have 8 divisions in the @ufc while we only have 2 weight classes for the girls to compete in- I will fight for all of us and we will make them give the women the same opportunities the men are being given!
If you look at the 135lbs division only @sarahkaufmanmma fought her entire career at 135, all of the other women were either forced up from 125 or pushed down from 145 to create this division of 135.
I will fight at 145lbs so other girls will have the opportunity!!! It's great seeing promoters realize the potential and support the division by putting @marloescoenen on their broadcast, this is a great step!
There are women for me to fight IN MY OWN division and with support the talent will continue to develop. If you build it they will come (or return)! It was a dream come true fighting in my hometown of Curitiba and it would be a dream come true to finally call my World Title an @ufc championship for the women's featherweight division.
If it is god's blessings I will step back into the octagon again after defending my @invictafc title!
Those of you asking if I will return to 140 to face holly, Miesha, or Ronda in the @ufc…I want to make the exciting fights the fans want to see, however I feel I have a bigger responsibility for the history of the sport, but after defending my belt I will sit with my team and see what superfights the @ufc is willing to make and if it is something my fans want am willing to make the weight again!
Always Glory to God!!!!!
Please share if you support women's MMA!”