Just days removed from a successful title defense at Bellator 271, Cris Cyborg is already looking to her next challenger. She didn’t have to look very hard.
Cat Zingano is ready for her first chance at Bellator gold and called out the reigning featherweight champion directly on Twitter. Cyborg quickly responded with a date and location, seemingly accepting the challenge and setting the stage for a showdown.
Since debuting for Bellator in January 2020, Cyborg has been unstoppable. In her promotional debut, she defeated Julia Budd for the featherweight title at Bellator 238. Since then, she has successfully defended her title three times, most recently against Sinead Kavanagh. In four title fights, Cyborg has finished all of her opponents. Three via knockout and one submission, the first submission victory of her career.
Years in the Making
Zingano, like Cyborg, signed with Bellator after a stint with the UFC. In her first two UFC bouts, Zingano defeated the recently returned Miesha Tate and current dual champion Amanda Nunes. Zingano got her shot at UFC gold against Ronda Rousey at UFC 184. She lost via armbar just 14 seconds into the bout.
After going 1-4 in her last five, Zingano parted ways with the UFC and signed with Bellator. Since joining Bellator, she has won back-to-back fights and is currently ranked #2 in the women’s featherweight division.
This is not the first time Zingano has expressed interest in fighting Cyborg. While the fight never developed under the UFC banner, now seems like the perfect time.
Bellator CEO Scott Coker commented back in May that a bout between Zingano and Cyborg was inevitable. “That’s one of the reasons we brought Cat here, is that she has a victory over Amanda Nunes. This is something that I think she came here to fight Cyborg,” Coker said. “She’s had a couple of fights, and she feels pretty good about it.”
Bellator MMA has not officially announced a date, city, or venue for January 2022. No bouts have been confirmed for the event at this time.
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images