LAS VEGAS -- If you're looking for the person least surprised that Jorina Baars defeated Cris Cyborg on Friday night at Lion Fight 14, look no further than Baars herself.
"I'm a Muay Thai fighter. She's an MMA fighter," Baars told MMAFighting.com following her upset win. "I will beat her. That's every opponent, I will beat them. It's my sport. It's my style."
Baars, 25, while not as outwardly menacing as the current Invicta FC featherweight champion, is nonetheless undefeated over the course of her professional kickboxing career, which includes several title-winning performances.
The Netherlands native's reputation is said to have grown so imposing that it forced her into inactivity for three years, as no fighter in Europe was willing to challenge her.
"I'm never intimidated of an opponent," Baars said. "The gameplan was to put Cris in my range and stick with the knees, and when she comes in, put a knee up or a kick push attempt in her face. It worked."
Baars knocked Cyborg down early in the opening frame with a front kick, then continued to unload a steady diet of hard knees and kicks to ultimately score a unanimous decision win by scores of 49-45, 48-45 and 49-44, capturing the inaugural Lions Fight women's welterweight title.
Yet Cyborg, a relative newcomer to the sport of Muay Thai, was anything but dismayed in defeat.
"I'm so happy because I gave her five rounds with her, a champion of Muay Thai," Cyborg said. "No girl wants to fight her. She hasn't fought in three years.
"She's had eight belts and 38 fights, zero (losses). She's never lost. I have two fights in Muay Thai.
"She had a good gameplan against me," Cyborg added. "She's tall. It's hard to punch her in the face. ... The first round I said, okay, I can lose this fight. But I fought hard, I was ready for a war."
Despite her early struggles, Cyborg appeared to find her rhythm towards the later rounds, as she returned fire with looping punches and even scored a few knockdowns herself, although it did little to slow Baars' high-volume attack.
"She is strong and she has power," Baars noted of Cyborg. "But it's not the hardest punch I've gotten hit with."
In the aftermath of a fight that was much closer than the scorecards indicated, both women were quick to answer any questions of a rematch with a resounding ‘yes.'
While Cyborg acknowledged that it'd likely be most beneficial if she got a few more fights under her belt before getting thrown back into the ring against one of the world's best, she also reiterated that she is and always will be down to fight any opponent put in front of her.
"I always respected [Baars]," Cyborg said. "I watched fights of hers, I know she has a lot of good fights, I know she's experienced, but I tried. I tried and I trained, because I love fighting. This is what I love. I love being inside the ring.
"I'm so happy. I want to fight again. I never choose my opponents, and I think a true fighter never chooses opponents. You have to be ready for everybody."