Cris Cyborg will make her much anticipated UFC debut on May 14, facing Leslie Smith in a 140-pound catchweight fight in Curitiba, Brazil, and her ex-husband Evangelista Santos is confident that she will prove she’s the best female fighter on the planet.
Santos, who recently made his successful Bellator debut with a 30-second submission win over Brennan Ward, expects his ex-wife to win in dominant fashion in her hometown, but isn’t a fan of the way the UFC has treated her.
"They treat fighters like dogs to promote their events and make money," Santos told MMA Fighting. "They only promote (Conor) McGregor, this piece of sh-t. And Ronda (Rousey) was created by the media. Cris destroys her. They should have signed Cris a long time ago. She’s the best in the world, there’s no one to beat her. She’s a warrior who never gives up, but these douchebags in the UFC spent years making fun of her. The UFC is full of douchebags. The way they treat fighters is ridiculous. I never wanted to fight in the UFC for any money. They are destroying the sport."
The UFC opened a women’s 135-pound division in 2012, right after purchasing Strikeforce, but Cyborg had to go a different direction since the promotion didn’t intend to create a featherweight division. The Brazilian striker ended up signing with Invicta FC, and scored five straight knockout victories since.
"The UFC doesn’t want her there," Santos said. "They put her there because fans demanded, but they don’t want her there. If they truly wanted her, they would have created her weight division. They opened a division they knew she would never be able to fight at. If they say ‘we want 100 girls for a 145-pound division’, they would get it immediately. But they don’t want that. They know that Cris would overshadow their plans with Ronda.
"If they really wanted the best female fighters, Cris should be the first one they signed but they boycotted her," he continued. "They know she will overshadow Ronda and Ronda is their biggest moneymaker. She got knocked out but will fight for the belt again, while (Jose) Aldo won’t get his rematch after years as champion. I don’t think that’s good for the sport. It’s all about money, and they don’t care about the fighter.
"Cris is by far the number one and there’s no one to beat her, but she didn’t have the opportunity to show that yet because the UFC has boycotted her. They want a pretty girl like Ronda, they don’t want real fighters. The UFC knows people would compare Ronda and Cris. They made Ronda become a star, and when she was finally tested she got beat up badly and gave up. Ronda is not a real fighter. A real fighter goes down but comes back. It’s easy to be a fighter when it’s all good."
Smith, who fought as a flyweight and bantamweight during her UFC and Invicta FC career, will move up to 140 pounds to welcome Cyborg to the Octagon at UFC 198, and Santos expects a devastating victory at the 45,000-seat Arena da Baixada stadium.
"Cris will finish her with her ground and pound," said the Bellator welterweight. "If it doesn’t end quickly, Leslie will get really hurt. I can guarantee you that. Sometimes Cris doesn’t have enough time to show how good she is because her opponents go down quickly, but if you look at her longer fights, her opponents look terrible in the end, like Marloes Coenen. It’s going to be worse for Leslie if this fight goes too long. Cris will show the world everything she has to offer. She has a good boxing, good knees, good wrestling, and her ground and pound is as devastating as Fedor (Emelianenko’s) and (Cain) Velasquez’s."