BRASILIA, Brazil — Brazilian MMA legend Cris Cyborg admits her path toward a combat sports career started inauspiciously, with a simple invitation.
Already viewed as an athlete with incomparable skills, she also displayed a trait that made her a natural in mixed martial arts.
“I was a very tough teenager. And it’s funny, because I had never thought of becoming a fighter, but now I’m sure I was born to be a fighter,” Cyborg recalled. “I was 19 years old and I was playing a handball exhibition match in Curitiba when I was seen and told I could make a good fighter.
“I always enjoyed challenges, and I put a lot of faith and determination in order to accomplish them.”
A few years and a lot of training later, Cyborg holds a 16-1 professional record (1-0 UFC), is the current Invicta FC featherweight champion, and has emerged as arguably the best female fighter of her time.
Her first UFC bout in May, a spectacular debut that saw her knock out Leslie Smith in just over a minute, was a showcase bout before more than 45,000 in Curitiba, Brazil. Saturday, she returns to the Octagon to face Sweden’s Lina Lansberg in UFC Fight Night’s main event in Brasilia.
Thumbnail photo via YouTube/Ultimate Fighting Championship