Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino may be the best 145-pound woman in mixed martial arts, but for now, she's hasn't got a championship belt to go with that title.
Invicta Fighting Championships' inaugural featherweight champion, the 31-year-old Brazilian has now vacated that strap. In a self-released video posted on Friday, Cyborg said that she was relinquishing the title to focus on her Ultimate Fighting Championship career, specifically angling for a summer date with UFC women's featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie.
“I’m healthy now and I’m strong, and I really want to show my fans why I’m still 10 years undefeated at 145 pounds,” Cyborg said in the video.
“July 29th, the UFC will be in south California, and I would like to fight in my backyard in America in Anaheim, California,” Cyborg continued, all while polishing a UFC title belt on her lap. “So, Germaine, I hope your hand is healthy enough to accept my challenge.”
Justino defeated recently retired MMA pioneer Marloes Coenen to earn the vacant Invicta title at Invicta FC 6 in July 2013, then turned in a trio of successful title defenses, knocking out Charmaine Tweet, Faith Van Duin and Daria Ibragimova, all in the first round. Cyborg hadn't defended the Invicta title since the Ibragimova bout in January 2016 as she transitioned to the UFC, winning a pair of 140-pound catch-weight fights against Leslie Smith and Lina Lansberg later in the year.
With the former Strikeforce women's 145-pound champ offering up her hardware, Invicta FC announced during its Invicta FC 22 broadcast last Saturday that interim titleholder Megan Anderson has been promoted to full champion.
“I’m definitely excited. I think it needed to happen when Cris moved to the UFC, but I’m glad that it’s happened now and it’s all cleared up,” Anderson said on the broadcast.
The 27-year-old Australian earned her interim strap at Invicta FC 21 in January, where she destroyed Charmaine Tweet with a head kick in the second round to earn her fourth straight win, all of them coming via knockout.