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New Invicta signee Marina Shafir: I believe I will beat Cris Cyborg 'eventually'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Marina Shafir is in a unique position. She only has two pro MMA fights, is coming off a knockout loss and just signed with Invicta FC last week. Yet there are already people asking if she'll be next for Cris "Cyborg" Justino, one of the best female fighters on the planet.

The 145-pound fighter is a well-known name, courtesy of her relationship with Ronda Rousey -- the two are longtime best friends -- and her charismatic personality. Shafir also happened to be a decorated judoka, like Rousey, before converting to MMA.

But Shafir doesn't think she'll be the next to challenge Cyborg for the Invicta women's featherweight title for a number of reasons, mostly because she doesn't think she deserves it yet.

"I have to earn that fight," Shafir told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I get that. I know if I ask for it, she would take it in a heartbeat. But I have to work up towards that fight. I have to make people really believe. Because I know I believe I will eventually have that fight and I believe I will beat her. But I have to make everyone else believe that. That's just part of the journey."

Shafir (1-1), who trains with Rousey at Glendale Fighting Club and also under Josh Barnett, turned pro just last year. The Moldova native and Los Angeles resident finished Chandra Engel with an armbar in just 1:57 at Lights Out Promotion Chaos at the Casino 4 last April. She fought at the promotion's next show in August and was knocked out by Amanda Bell in just 37 seconds.

Bell is now with Invicta and so is Shafir. That's obviously a fight Shafir wants back in the future.

"I guarantee you I'm gonna see that girl," Shafir said. "I will get my rematch with her and I'm gonna see her and it's be completely different."

Shafir said she shut down emotionally after that loss. She was undefeated as an amateur and also successful in judo. Losing has not really been her thing, so she didn't take it well.

"I cried," Shafir said. "I cried a lot. But like I said, I know myself and that's pretty much all that matters at the end of the day. I know myself very well and that loss, it didn't define me. It definitely shook me from the core, but I just had to wake up. That's it. I had to wake up and understand that I am completely capable of climbing this ladder and being completely 100 percent successful and just knocking some of these chicks off the block. I had to learn that, kind of the hard way."

It didn't help that she was inundated with nasty comments on social media, mostly stemming from her friendship with Rousey. Shafir, Rousey and UFC fighters Shayna Baszler and Jessamyn Duke have dubbed themselves "The Four Horsewomen" after the famous pro-wrestling stable. With that has come plenty of hate from fans.

"I'm just as human as the next person," Shafir said. "I don't ever act like the world owes me anything ever. That's the one misconception people have about me is just because I'm friends with Ronda means I get all the royalties, too, and I'm untouchable. And that's not true."

Shafir said she learned from Rousey how to take a step back from all that stuff and look at it like it's funny. That's just one of the many things Shafir has learned, about herself included, in the nine months since the Bell loss.

She'll get a clean slate with Invicta and plenty of opportunities to succeed. Shafir might not think she has earned a fight with Cyborg yet, but she looks forward to working for it.

"That's just part of the journey," Shafir said. "I'm just really f*cking excited to fight and prove people wrong."

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