Coker Talks Interest in Cyborg, Zingano
While UFC President Dana White has proclaimed he’s out of the Cris Cyborg business, a rival promoter is looking to get back into it.
During an interview with MMA Fighting this week ahead of Bellator 225, Bellator President Scott Coker said he’s made an offer to Cyborg and hopes to hear back from her and her team soon.
“It’s not anywhere near complete but we’re definitely in the mix,” Coker said. “We think she’d be a great addition to our 145-pound weight class. I think her fighting [current featherweight champion] Julia Budd would be an amazing event, but it’s not done yet. Hopefully, we’ll have some news in the next 10 days or so.”
Cyborg previously worked under Coker in Strikeforce between 2009 and 2011, winning the promotion’s women’s featherweight championship before being stripped of it in January 2012 after getting suspended for failing a drug test.
Prior to her final UFC fight, Cyborg publicly expressed her desire to test the free-agent market. Cyborg defeated Felicia Spencer at UFC 240, Cyborg’s first fight since getting knocked out by Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 — her first loss since her 2005 MMA debut. In the days after the fight, White released her from the UFC’s exclusive negotiation window after years of a rocky relationship between the two parties.
Coker, meanwhile, almost immediately expressed interest in the former women’s featherweight champ, posting a photo of him and her during the Strikeforce days.
“She’s talking to a couple [of] other leagues. trying to get the best deal, but I feel like her and I have always had a good bond and a good relationship and I’m hopeful she’ll be fighting in Bellator her next fight,” Coker said.
If Cyborg ends up signing with Bellator, it wouldn’t be surprising to soon see her challenging Bellator women’s featherweight champion Julia Budd, who has won 11 straight, going 4-0 in Invicta and currently 7-0 in Bellator. Budd’s only two losses have come in her four-fight Strikeforce stint, against two women who went on to become UFC stars — inaugural UFC women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey and current UFC champ-champ Amanda Nunes.
Meanwhile, Cyborg is not the only ex-UFC name Coker is pursuing, as he also has expressed an interest in signing the recently released Cat Zingano.
After a 9-0 start to her career, including big wins over Miesha Tate and Nunes, Zingano has lost four of her last five fights, a skid that started with a 14-second submission loss to Rousey in a title fight that headlined UFC 184.
“We’ll have to make sure, but if she is completely free, then we should have a conversation,” Coker said.
Original Story: MMA Fighting/a>