Cris “Cyborg” Justino is arguably the greatest woman fighter of all time. Anyone who disagrees should look at her abs. Just glancing at her muscles will straight arm bar your eyes into submission. The singular Grand Slam Champion, Cyborg is the only athlete—male or female—to win a world championship belt in all four top mixed martial arts promotions: UFC, Strikeforce, Invicta, and Bellator. Her 23-2 record further supports the claim to greatness. Friday, she’ll have the chance to solidify it.
The Brazilian badass faces off against Leslie Smith for the second time in Bellator 259 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. Cyborg beat Smith in 2016, her UFC debut, but this time the two will be fighting in featherweight class, adding a whole new component to the cage. Will it be an advantage? Find out at 11 p.m. on Showtime.
Extract Labs has sponsored Cyborg since 2018, and had the chance to talk to her about how she prepared for the rematch, her CBD routine, and her dream opponent she’d like to slug a time or two.
How does it feel to be getting back in the octagon after a year of COVID lockdown?
I was lucky to fight once last year before the pandemic and then once with no crowds inside the fight sphere for Bellator MMA. I’m excited to be back on Showtime and put on a great performance for my fans.
Explain your headspace before the start of a fight. What is it like to be you at that moment?
I know I trained the hardest I can train. I have controlled all the things I can control—that gives me confidence. If I do 90 percent, Jesus is going to do the remaining 10 percent. Win or lose, I will grow from the experience and move forward.
How has a 15-year fighting career affected your body? What do you do to stay healthy?
Haha! 16 years! This month I will have been a professional for 16 years. I invest a lot into [cultivating a] healthy mind, body, and spirit. I own a hyperbaric chamber at my house, I have an LED red light bed [for joint pain and circulation], and I regularly get recovery massages.
How do you incorporate CBD into your routine?
I had never really used CBD before USADA approved it for athletes in the Olympics. Once I saw them approve its use, I knew it had to have a proven medical benefit. With Extract Labs, I love that I can trust the quality of the product. I use the Extract Labs CBD tinctures at night before bed, the CBD pain management cream during the day, and all my pets get their Fetch CBD treatments daily.
When people say you’re the greatest woman fighter of all time, how do you react?
I always appreciate fans who give me this respect. Sixteen years is a long time. There have been so many “eras” in Mixed Martial Arts. It’s an honor when fans refer to my time as the “Cyborg Era.” There are always going to be great fighters, so I just appreciate fans who place me in their lists of all-time greats.
Ok, one fun question: If you could fight anyone from history, who would it be?
Hmmmmmm…I would like to [fight] the Cris Cyborg who fought Amanda Nunes [in 2018]. I have grown so much since that night and used that experience to improve my weaknesses. The ultimate challenge is always You vs. Yourself, so if we are having a fun answer, I would like to prove how much that experience improved me as a fighter. But we could bring in Ronda Rousey if that fighter isn’t available. Haha!