For the third time in her fighting career, Cris “Cyborg” Justino stepped into the Muay Thai kickboxing ring.
For the just the second time in her dominant fighting career, Cyborg walked out of the fighting platform in defeat.
Cyborg entered the ring at Lion Fight 14 to face undefeated Dutch kickboxer Jorina Baars. While Cyborg came in undefeated as well, Baars was the more experienced kickboxer – having fought in 36 more fights than her Brazilian counterpart.
The lack of experience was certainly evident on Friday night, as Cyborg was knocked down several times throughout the fight. It was a relatively easy fight for the judges to score in favor of Baars at 49-45, 48-45, and 49-44.
While most would be quick to judge the loss a with a little more discretion – because it was, after all, kickboxing and not MMA – those same people should also recognize what catapulted Cyborg to the top of the mountain.
She’s never been a grappler.
She’s never been a submission artist.
She’s a striker. Arguably the best in women’s MMA – before entering the ring on Friday, that is.
She was dominated in the waters we once believed too deep for any other fighter but herself to compete in.
And while it was a bad night for Cyborg, it was an even worse night for women’s MMA – further hampering the likelihood that Cyborg will ever grace the three iconic letters on her gloves and face off against UFC superstar Ronda Rousey.
Between damaging her ties between herself and UFC President Dana White, claiming she couldn’t make the 135-pound weight limit, and seeing her winning-streak come to an end, Cyborg has nothing left to bargain with.
In many ways, this is Fedor Emelianenko falling for Fabricio Werdum’s bait and ending all hope for the superfight between he and Brock Lesnar.
This is Anderson Silva foolishly keeping his hands down before hitting the canvas against UFC middleweight Champion Chris Weidman – successfully nailing the coffin to the superfight between he and Jon Jones (or even Georges St-Pierre, for that matter).
We’ll never know what Cyborg could have done against Rousey, because the UFC brass should have no reason to make that fight happen anymore.
That’s not to say Cyborg won’t be able to beat Rousey anymore, because she certainly would. This means that – outside of the insane monetary possibilities – the UFC has no reason to risk their golden girl against a challenger like Justino.