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MMA legend Cris Cyborg set for September 25th boxing debut

Cris Cyborg has held titles in four major MMA promotions

Bellator 238 Julia Budd v Cris Cyborg Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

One of the most destructive women in combat sports, reigning Bellator champion and former UFC/Invicta/Strikeforce champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino, revealed yesterday that she’ll make her professional boxing debut on September 25th against Simone Silva.

The 37-year-old Justino (26-2, 20 KO MMA), who burst onto the world stage with a 2009 mauling of Gina Carano, was virtually untouchable for most of the next decade. Unfortunately, her size wound up badly limiting the available competition, as the women’s featherweight (145 lb.) division is virtually barren in MMA. The UFC did end up making the division, however, and Justino racked up five Octagon victories before running into all-time-great Amanda Nunes in 2018. She’s 6-0 since that defeat and has made four defenses of the Bellator featherweight title.

This won’t be her first dalliance on other sports, as she took a pair of Muay Thai fights in the early-to-mid aughts.

She’s not going to topple Jessica McCaskill or beat Katie Taylor if Eddie Hearn’s proposal sees the light of day, but I can definitely see her doing alright for herself. While she’s definitely a slugger as opposed to a crisp boxer, she’s more technical than you might think, has thudding power, and boasts an impressive gas tank.

Those should be plenty sufficient against Silva (17-21, 6 KO). “Mulher Gato” (“Catwoman”) is a former title challenger, as the Tweet claims, but she’s also 39, 3-17 in her last 20, and in the midst of a three-year, eight-fight losing streak.

There’s one other fight of note on the card, though not one anyone’s likely to be happy with: 46-year-old Acelino “Popo” Freitas (41-2, 34 KO) against 48-year-old vale tudo and MMA veteran Jose “Pele” Landi-Jons (29-16, 19 KO MMA). “Pele’s” heyday was somewhere around 2000 and he hasn’t fought in more than seven years, so this is going to end poorly.