Cris Cyborg, real name Cristiane Justino, has looked unstoppable since signing with the UFC last year, knocking out Leslie Smith and Lina Lansberg before outclassing and finishing Tonya Evinger to win the vacant women’s featherweight title at UFC 214.
In fact, Cyborg has looked unstoppable throughout most of her MMA career, having won titles in multiple promotions and winning almost all of her fights via knock out.
Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, however, who retired from the sport after having lost to Raquel Pennington last November, believes Holly Holm could be the one to dethrone Justino.
Featured as a recent guest on Sirius XM Rush’s MMA Tonight, Tate thinks ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ could catch Cyborg with one of her signature head kicks if the Brazilian gets impatient and tries to head hunt.
“Of anybody that I can think to fight Cyborg to right now, that has the best chance, I honestly, truly believe that it’s Holly [Holm],” Tate said, per MMA Mania’s Dan Hiergesell. “The reason I say that is, if Cyborg cannot get a hold of Holly, if she recklessly chases her down — similar to how Ronda [Rousey] did, not using the correct angles — if she follows her like a missile, which she does in every fight I’ve ever seen before. That’s how she hunts girls down because she can. With Holly, that’s not a good idea. She can cut through those angles. She’s an amazing counter striker and if she lands that head kick, I think she can put anybody away. So stylistically, this makes for a really, really interesting fight.”
Holm, of course, shocked the world when she knocked out WMMA sensation Ronda Rousey with a head kick in 2015, and the former boxing champ recently knocked out Bethe Correia with the same move at UFC Fight Night 111.
Tate, who is more than familiar with Holm’s counter-fighting style, having choked the Jackson-Wink product unconscious at UFC 196, believes Cyborg will have trouble with Holm’s footwork.
“If Cyborg gets a hold of her and throws her down to the ground, obviously Holly’s in trouble. She’s in big trouble,” Tate explained. “But I can truly attest to how amazing Holly’s footwork is and just how difficult she is to get a hold of, how hard it is to do that. You really have to throw everything to the wayside just to try to grab her. I think I got two takedowns on her in our five rounds and I’m smaller. I think I’m a little speedier than Cyborg is even. Cyborg’s really, really strong but she’s not necessarily the fastest woman in the world. She doesn’t tend to shoot a lot out in the open so I think to press Holly against the cage or to overwhelm Holly is going to be a difficult task, I really do.”
Cyborg is scheduled to defend her featherweight title against Holly Holm at UFC 219. The pay-per-view takes place next month, Dec. 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.