Bellator 259: Cris Cyborg dismisses talk of imminent retirement from MMA but insists she will one day enter boxing world

CRIS CYBORG has no intention of hanging up her gloves anytime soon – despite achieving it all in mixed martial arts.

The Brazilian battleaxe – who is still one of the most feared forces in all of MMA – has done it all in her legendary career.

A multiple promotion world champion who has competed in several historic fights, Cyborg – who boasts scores of fans around the world – has ticked every box on the MMA checklist.

Given her immense success, one would assume the thought of bringing the curtain down on her hall-of-fame career would've crossed the mind of Bellator's women's featherweight champion.

That assumption, however, couldn't be any further from the truth.

The 35-year-old told SunSport: "I didn't think about that or how long [I'll keep fighting].

"But I don't believe it's going to be like six years again. No, it's gonna be like short for sure.

"But you know, I always take care of my body. I went to Colombia a couple of times to do stem cell [treatment] on my injuries.

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"Now, I'm very healthy too. I think I train smart too. Of course, you don't want to train crazy like you're 19 or 18."

Despite having four world titles to her name, Cyborg is still motivated as ever.

She said: "[My goals] are to enjoy every time I step into the octagon. I'm not going to have a lot of years [left]. It's been 16 years doing this.

"For me, [it's about] enjoying the moment and using my experience when I fight the girls.

"I think you guys saw with my last fight with Julia Budd or Arlene Blencowe a different Cyborg. I think I'm getting better every time I step in the cage."

Cyborg – real name Cristiane Justino – is the true embodiment of a martial artist having also tested herself in Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitions.


And she feels her combat sports career wouldn't be complete without a venture into the boxing world.

The Curitiba clubber said: "I would like to [box].

"This would be a dream come true. This year is going to be hard for me because I have a lot of MMA fights to do.

"But for sure I'll make a plan for next year and I'll have time to be prepared.

"But for me, it's going to be a dream come true.

"I love a challenge and I would really like to do one boxing fight to put in my career."

Cyborg's desire to compete in the squared circle hasn't drawn her attention away from further adding to her legacy in MMA, nor her Bellator 259 opponent Leslie Smith.

The pair will clash in a rematch early on Saturday morning, with Smith looking to turn in a markedly better display than she did in their first meeting five years ago at UFC 198.

Smith, 38,has won four of her last five since being blown out of the water by Cyborg, who is expecting their second meeting to be different to their first.

She said: "I think that time she was fighting at 135lbs and then she accepted fight me at 140lbs.

"I believe she's had time [to adjust] now because she's had a couple of fights at 145lbs. I think she's really getting better in the division.

"Everyone if you continue training, in five years, for sure, you're gonna get better and improve.

"For sure she's a better fighter now, like me, than before."

Although she's seen improvements in The Peacemaker, Cyborg believes they won't be enough to end her reign atop of Bellator's 145lb division.

The Chute Boxe standout said: "I believe it's going to be an exciting fight. Leslie Smith is a hardcore girl, she likes to fight.

"She's not the type of person to quit in the fight. And I believe there's going to be a lot of violence in the fight."

Watch Cris Cyborg in action at Bellator 259: Cyborg vs. Smith, live on the BBC iPlayer from 10:30pm BST on Friday, May 21

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