And it still wasn’t nearly enough.
After two competitive rounds on Saturday at UFC 219, Cyborg pulled away and left no doubt who was the superior fighter. Holm managed to go the distance in Las Vegas, but Cyborg retained her UFC featherweight championship.
The judges’ scores at T-Mobile Arena 49-46, 48-47, and 48-47 in favor of Cyborg.
“Thank you for Holly Holm,” Cyborg said after just her third career decision win. “She is an amazing fighter she had a very good fight.”
The victory was the 19th in a row -- minus a no-decision -- for Cyborg (19-1, 1 NC), who was previously both Invicta and Strikeforce champion.
Holm, the former UFC bantamweight champion, was going up in weight to challenge Cyborg. She used movement to try to keep Cyborg from getting into a groove, and when Cyborg would get untracked, she’d hold Cyborg in the clinch to break her rhythm.
That worked during a close first round and likely won Holm the second.
By the end of the second, though. Holm’s left eye was swollen shut. And Cyborg took advantage. She pushed the pace, moving forward when appropriate and countering when it made sense. She also started winning the clinch battles as Holm tired.
Holm showed some spirit in the fifth round, sensing she needed a finish, but it wasn’t enough. Cyborg went 25 minutes for the first time in her career and sealed the deal.
The question from here for Cyborg becomes who is next for her in a division very shallow on talent. She offered the name of Invicta standout Megan Anderson, whom she was originally scheduled to fight at UFC 214.
“I would like to fight someone at 145, I would like to fight Megan Anderson next and I would like to do it in Australia.”
Holm (14-4), who was also a former world boxing champ in addition to hold the UFC bantamweight title, has now lost three of her past four fights, three of them via decision.