Last night, Invicta FC featherweight queens and top 145-pound female MMA fighter Cris Cyborg stepped into the ring (note: a ring, not a cage) and battled it out for a championship belt at Lion Fight 14. She got her ass completely kicked, and wound up on the wrong end a unanimous decision.
These things happen in combat sports, but what makes it notable is that Cyborg is widely considered to be the only true challenge remaining for UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey. Also, it’s Cyborg – she doesn’t lose. She slaughters people. How could she possibly lose last night?
She lost for the same reason why it should be a big deal that she lost: it was a Muay Thai bout.
It’s not uncommon for MMA fighters to dabble in other sports, and it’s not uncommon for them to lose as much as they win. When BJ Penn was first starting out he killed it in judo tournament, and veteran Genki Sudo did remarkably well in K-1 for a bit. And of course, there’s Melvin Guillard‘s venture into the realm of boxing. Sometimes these fighters come away with the “W”, sometimes it’s the “L” – so what?
The truth is, Cyborg is a fantastic MMA competitor, but her aggressive stand-up style, which has seen her devastate opponents in the cage, isn’t exactly the recipe for success one would assume it to be in the world of Muay Thai. Lion Fights 14 opponent Jorina Baars – who had over 30 wins on her resume – was simply way better and way more experienced.
Does this ass-kicking in any way diminish the luster Cyborg has as the last remaining legitimate contender to Rousey’s crown? It shouldn’t. After all, if Cyborg and Rousey were to meet, it would be in the cage and not the ring, and there would be grappling involved. And regardless of what Baars was able to do, a Cyborg/Rousey bout would still be awesome.