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Morning Report: Cris Cyborg would like to move up to 155 pounds to face Kayla Harrison

Bellator MMA

2020 was a good year for Cris Cyborg. After taking her leave from the UFC, Cyborg made her Bellator debut, winning its featherweight title with a fourth-round TKO of Julia Budd. Cyborg followed that up with a second-round submission of Arlene Blencowe to retain her belt. But as impressive as that was, Cyborg may be looking to have an even more high-profile 2021.

Cyborg is the biggest name in women’s MMA outside of the UFC but a close runner-up to Cyborg is two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison. Harrison transitioned to MMA in 2018 and currently competes under the PFL banner where she won their inaugural women’s lightweight tournament. However, since PFL did not hold any events in 2020, Harrison took a fight last year in Cyborg’s old stomping grounds of Invicta and, more importantly, Harrison made the cut down to the featherweight division, which caught Cyborg’s eye.

“I saw she made the weight,” Cyborg told James Lynch. “A couple fights I’ve seen her. I believe she’s fighting girls under, below her skill. The girls aren’t on her level but she’s doing great. This is a strategy of her manager.”

Harrison is 8-0 in her nascent MMA career but, given that she competes in a division that is not well-established, she’s yet to face any big names. But having now successfully made a cut to 145 pounds, Harrison is on Cyborg’s radar and the former UFC featherweight champion is ready to set up a fight with the two-time Olympic champion in 2021.

“I believe this year she’s gonna fight for PFL, she’s gonna be in a tournament at 155, and if she becomes the champion of this tournament, for sure I would like to make a match with her that all the fans would like to watch.”

Fans have been fantasy matchmaking Cyborg and Harrison since Harrison made the transition to MMA, but Cyborg has a surprise in store for the fans. Contrary to expectations, Cyborg isn’t looking at defending her title against Harrison, she wants to come up to Harrison’s weight class for the bout.

“I would like to go to ‘55,” Cyborg said. “Before I retire, I want to help build the division and if she is young, let’s see if she would like to do a match, one real match for her. . .I’ve never had the opportunity. All the people told me go below, below, below. For me, I walk 170, 175. . . I never had the chance. This is one dream that could come true.”

Cyborg has spent most of her career competing at the 145-pound weight limit. A fight with Harrison at 155 would be her first bout above a 150-pound weight limit.


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