Strkeforce women's 145 lb. champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos will be defending her title for the first time in over a year in San Diego at Strikeforce's next big event against Hiroko Yamanaka. She spoke to Tatame about the title defense and what she thinks will happen with women's MMA if Strikeforce is indeed shut down after the purchase by the UFC. First, on her next opponent:
I know she’s fought a lot (12 times), and I guess she won most of the times via points. She has been defeated only once, by a girl I’ve fought. I guess she’s a good opponent, a good fight.
On her first fight since the Zuffa purchase of Strikeforce:
I guess that, if there’s something, it’s a better thing. UFC is the biggest MMA event of all, so I’m happy about this fight I’ll be doing in December. It’s a great chance for me, I’ll show my work and put on a good show, open the doors to women. The name’s changed, but it doesn’t matter because I already used to take it seriously, I used to pour my heart out to win. Now the boss has changed, but I’ll keep doing what I used to do before.
And her opinion on the future of women's MMA:
I guess female MMA won’t be extinct. I don’t know if we’ll fight in UFC or not. Everybody’s dream is that it keeps opened, but I guess MMA won’t end if UFC doesn’t want us. Girls will keep on fighting it, training and then will come up an event that will want to give us that chance. It’s on the hands of God and the producers to keep on believing in female MMA, my role is to do what I always do: put on a good show, representing women and fight better and better each time. But I believe that women are getting better and putting on good shows.
While I agree that the niche of women's MMA will be something another organization is likely to grab onto (ProElite?), it's going to be very tough for it to regain the exposure it had on Showtime if the organization does indeed fold it's tent in February. Personally, I believe that it could be the centerpiece of the promotion if Showtime elected to extend their contract and it, along with a Challengers-like style of show, could be profitable for the network. I also know I'm in the minority on this opinion, so you can go ahead and attack me now.