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Coach says Cris Cyborg's willingness to cut to 140 ‘shows what kind of champion she is'

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

The furor over Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino's extreme weight cutting has died down since Justino crushed Lina Lansberg to keep her perfect UFC record intact at UFC Fight Night 95. However, the Brazilian's future with the promotion remains very much in flux.

Justino, the Invicta FC featherweight champion, has competed twice for the UFC at a 140-pound catchweight. She won both fights via knockout, however both cuts to 140 pounds were grueling endeavors, and following UFC Fight Night 95, "Cyborg" made it clear that she is only willing to make the drop again for a superfight against a top-10 bantamweight opponent.

Yet if it was up to Justino's head coach, Jason Parillo, Justino wouldn't make the cut at all.

"I've talked about that for years with her and with the team, and it's always been the biggest concern of mine," Parillo said recently on The MMA Hour. "You saw that grueling weight cut on that documentary that Cris had done and that was coming down to 140. But believe it or not, those are the grueling weight cuts that she has are at 145. I've yet to see a really easy one at 145. She's just willing to make that mental sacrifice over the last couple fights and shed off those last five pounds, which shows what kind of champion she is."

Justino, 31, is widely considered to be the top pound-for-pound female fighter in the sport. She defeated UFC bantamweight Leslie Smith at a 140-pound catchweight in May for her successful Octagon debut, yet Smith was a known commodity, whereas Lansberg was a relative unknown as well as a natural featherweight -- details which made the 140-pound catchweight feel like an arbitrary hurdle for Justino to overcome at UFC Fight Night 95.

Still, Justino made the weight, albeit with some allowances from the Brazilian athletic commission, and proved to be a star by drawing some of the year's best ratings for an otherwise ordinary card on FOX Sports 1. So while Parillo won't demand that Justino refuse to cut down to 140 pounds again, he admitted to being frustrated by the idea that it is 140 pounds or bust for "Cyborg" to fight in the UFC.

"Here's the thing, Cris has a chance to do what she wants to do," Parillo said. "She's going to go where the money and the attention is and where she's recognized as being the best, because that's the type of mentality she's got. I just personally don't see what's the difference, a superfight is a superfight.

"They don't want to make a 145-pound division, but guess what? There's no 140-pound division either. So what's the difference? It's a superfight, you can make a superfight at 153 if you want, 142, 144. It's a superfight, it's a fight that's happening with no weight class. So why not put that 145-pound thought out there in people's eyes, because there are plenty of girls out there? They've got girls in Invicta. The 135-pound division isn't that stacked."