Cris Cyborg is a Brazillian-American mixed martial artist who competes in the featherweight category. Currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), she has maintained an unbeaten record since losing her first professional fight back in May 2005.
Cyborg is widely considered one of the most dominant fighters in the world having won the Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight title, the Invicta FC World Featherweight title, as well as the UFC women’s featherweight title.
Who Is Cris Cyborg – Cristiane Justino Venâncio?
Best known by her ring moniker – Cris Cyborg, Cristiane Justino Venâncio was born on July 9, 1985, in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil. As a teenager, she competed as a handball player before getting introduced to mixed martial arts by Rudimar Fedrigo, the founder and head coach of Brazil’s Chute Boxe Academy. Impressed by her strength and athleticism, Fedrigo offered her a free Muay Thai class at the Chute Boxe gym in a bid to encourage her to join the sport. There, she met a training partner and mixed martial artist Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos to whom she later got married.
After months of combat sports training, Cristiane Justino Venâncio marked her professional debut in May 2005 under the ring name Cris Cyborg, an adaptation of the name of her then-boyfriend Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos. The fight was organized by Brazil’s Showfight promotion and Cyborg got defeated by her opponent Eric Paes in the first round. Despite the defeat, Cyborg recorded her first career win later that year which was followed by 3 consecutive wins in 2006.
With an impressive 4-1 record to her name, Cris Cyborg took a 2-year hiatus from the sport, eventually making a return in July 2008 when she marked her United States debut. Organized by Elite Xtreme Combat MMA promotion, the bout was dubbed EliteXC: Unfinished Business and Cyborg recorded a second-round win over her opponent Shayna Baszler. This was followed by another win over Toko Takahashi at the EliteXC: Heat event held in October 2008.
In February 2009, Cris Cyborg joined Strikeforce MMA promotion on a world-exclusive, four-fight contract. The talented fighter recorded a win in her Strikeforce debut after which she defeated Gina Carano in August 2009 to claim the Women’s Featherweight Championship, her first career title. She successfully defended her title over two bouts in 2010 and by the following year, she extended her contract with Strikeforce.
In January 2012, Cris Cyborg’s career took a hit as she got slammed with a one-year ban and a $2,500 fine after testing positive for banned substances. Upon her return in February 2013, she got signed to Invicta Fighting Championships owing to the dissolution of Strikeforce the previous month. Cyborg remained unbeaten during her stint with Invicta and she equally clinched the Invicta FC Featherweight Championship in July 2013.
Following the expiration of her contract with Invicta Fighting Championships, Cyborg joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in March 2015. She was victorious in her first two fights under the UFC, extending her professional record to 16-1. Cyborg attained a major career milestone on July 29, 2017, when she defeated Tonya Evinger to win her first UFC championship. She successfully defended the title against Holly Holm and Yana Kunitskaya in December 2017 and March 2018 respectively, extending her W-L-D record to an impressive 20-1-0. Cyborg is billed to face the bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in the first ever women’s super fight UFC 232 in December 2018.
Cris Cyborg was previously married to compatriot and fellow mixed martial artist Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos. The duo met during a training session at the Chute Boxe Academy in the early years of her career. It remains unknown when they officially tied the knot as several details about their union remain vague. However, their union ended in a divorce in the year 2011.
Cyborg is currently in a long-term relationship with “Magical” Ray Elbe, a veteran Mixed Martial Arts fighter and instructor. In addition to his illustrious professional career, Elbe is a pioneer of mixed martial arts and Brazilian jiu-jitsu in South-East Asia. He is the founder of the Tiger Muay Thai Training Camp in Phuket, Thailand, the foremost Mixed Martial Arts program in the country.
Other Facts About Cris
1. Cris Cyborg is 5 feet 8 inches (172 cm) tall. She competes in the 145 lb (65 kg) weight category.
2. The iconic MMA fighter sports several tattoos on her body, the most notable of which is a large dragon tattoo across the length of her back.
3. Cyborg established a facility dedicated to combating sports in her home country – Brazil. The Rio Fight 21 Academy is located in Recreio, Rio de Janeiro and it was inaugurated on the 9th of June 2016.
4. She became a naturalized United States citizen in December 2016.
5. Cris has hinted at making a transition to professional boxing at the expiration of her contract with the UFC.