Despite being under suspension by the California State Athletic Comission, female standout Cristiane Santos has followed her training routine in order to sharpen the technical part of her arsenal while she awaits the renewal of her licence and the confirmation of her next fight for Strikeforce, for whom she hasn't performed since her destruction of Hiroko Yamanaka December 17th 2011.
The Brazilian is considered the biggest name among the women of MMA and has been the target of criticism by the current bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who has alleged that the Chute Boxe athlete only reached the top due to steroid abuse throughout her professional career.
Now Cristiane, the featherweight champion, has reaffirmed the interest in dropping weight to take on the former Olympic medallist.
“As I said in my last interview, the 145lbs division is my category but I can drop until 140lbs to fight her. It does not depend on me, it is up to the event. My business is to fight inside the cage and do not trash talk outside the fence. I'm available for the event [to talk to me] on those terms", she told Fighters Only in Brazil.
Cyborg avoided talking about the strategy for this intriguing bout, saying that submission expert Rousey is not confirmed as her next opponent. “I will only talk about his fight when I sign the contract to say she is going to be my next adversary. There is no reason to speak about it, having nothing concrete.”
Cris Santos, a pioneer amongst women who practice MMA, has had a connection with sports since when she was 12. When she began in Muay Thai, for example, she already played handball as a professional and competed in athletics. Mixed Martial Arts came up by chance, she reveals. “I got an invitation to train at Chute Boxe after a member of the team had seen me play, then I found that I was born to fight. But I believe the other sports helped me to have a physical structure.”
Women’s fights have previously been shot down by UFC president Dana White but recently he has demonstrated interest in this field after seeing Rousey’s popularity and success. The biggest issue in making fights between women is the fact that there are a low number of fighters but Cris - who lives in San Diego - claims it is expanding.
“I believe the number of women in MMA has been growing. We even have an exclusive event only for women here in the United States and the stadiums are always crowded. I believe it is growing and I feel happy for it. The secret is to fight as if it were the opportunity of your lifetime,” she suggested.
Cristiane heard Strikeforce president Scott Coker say that her division would be extinct after her ban for doping but she did not feel affected by the statement. “When the doping happened, he said that my category would be banned but if it that had occurred, I would fight for another event for sure. But since Strikeforce have changed their mind, I am happy.”
She avoids mentioning the names of her closest competitors and leaves it up to journalists and analysts of the sport to identify who her rivals are. In her opinion, the legacy she has built won't be affected by the suspension or by the recent episode in which she was told to leave the ‘Rousey vs Kaufman’ arena.
“Actually, I continue being the champion of my division. The belt was mine and the last fight ended in a no-contest. What I have done for the sport is a landmark regardless of anything else and I will keep doing what I always did, which is giving my best inside the cage.”
Cyborg has already put on one show with world wide repercussions when she faced the pin-up Gina Carano in an unforgettable night for female fighters. When questioned if a bout versus Ronda Rousey would get as much attention from public and media, she answered with a tease.
"No, because that fight was the first one for the world title and against Ronda this is going to be just another fight in my career,” she laughed.