COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Cris Cyborg continues to be a dominant champion, and it continues to be outside the boundaries of the UFC.
The Brazilian slugger smoked Daria Ibragimova by knockout at 4:58 of the first round in the main event of Invicta FC 15 on Saturday night here at The Hangar at the Orange County Fair. Cyborg retained her Invicta featherweight title with the victory. This is three straight first-round finishes for her and Cyborg has not even gone to a decision since 2008.
There is a case to be made that Cyborg (15-1, 1 NC) is the best fighter in the world, male or female, not in the UFC. And that doesn't look to be changing any time soon. Cyborg has ruled out moving to the women's bantamweight division and the UFC doesn't have women's featherweight. The promotion hasn't been interested in catchweight bouts, either.
"Of course, I want to be a UFC fighter, but I fight in Invicta, because they have my division," Cyborg said Saturday night after demolishing Ibragimova. "I think Dana lost something. I think I can make a lot of money for Dana and the UFC at 145 pounds."
Cyborg, 30, has been under contract with Zuffa, the UFC's parent company. The deal was that if Cyborg made the 135-pound bantamweight class that the UFC would bring her in for a massive fight with then-champion Ronda Rousey.
Of course, Rousey lost by knockout to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November, so that Rousey-Cyborg megafight is off the table for now. Holm has said she's open to fighting Cyborg at a catchweight or even 145 and Cyborg is certainly willing. But would the UFC be? That's hard to say.
"When somebody wants to make the fight happen, do something," Cyborg said. "I hope to fight her, of course. It would be an amazing fight, two strikers."
Right now, Cyborg, whose real name is Cristiane Justino, is stuck in a kind of limbo. Invicta is not necessarily a bad platform for her, but it's becoming increasingly hard to find someone who can even compete with her. Cyborg hasn't been in a competitive fight since 2010 and hasn't lost since her first pro fight in 2005. She is someone who could potentially be headlining pay-per-views.
Cyborg said she never expects to beat opponents in just a few seconds. She trains for five rounds and "amazing" battles. None of her fights have been like that, though. A bout with Holm or Rousey would be. Or maybe even someone else in the UFC like a Miesha Tate, who will challenge Holm at UFC 197 on March 5 in Las Vegas.
Justino said she's going to take a month off for a vacation in Brazil and then return to training. Invicta president Shannon Knapp said we could potentially see Cyborg back in action in July. But against who? That's anyone's guess.
"That's a tough one," Knapp said. "You look everywhere. You look at records. She's very, very dominant. What do you do? We're gonna start looking again."
Cyborg hasn't a clue, either. But she also isn't going to apologize for the fact that she's head and shoulders above everyone else at 145.
"I just have to train, and Invicta has to find a girl for me to fight," Cyborg said. "I cannot think about this."