Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino's scorched-earth campaign through Invicta FC's featherweight division continued at Invicta 15 with the champion defeating Daria Ibragimova in the main event via first-round knockout Saturday.
MMA Fighting tweeted the official result:
#InvictaFC15 results: Cris Cyborg def. Daria Ibragimova via KO at 4:58 of R1 https://t.co/pqxyd369t51/17/2016, 5:00:35 AM
Ibragimova was able to survive longer than most of Cyborg's recent opponents. After the champion dispatched her last two opponents in under a minute, Ibragimova was able to slow down her opponent's offense by clinging to the leg of Cyborg in the first round.
But one can cling to a leg for only so long. Eventually, Ibragimova had to deal with Cyborg in a stand-up battle, which she wasn't prepared for.
Just when it appeared as though Ibragimova would survive the first round, a thunderous right hand brought the night to an abrupt halt for the challenger and added another knockout victory to Cyborg's resume.
The win was just another example of Cyborg being one of the most dominant forces in MMA. It was her third consecutive successful title defense in Invicta and extended her unbeaten streak that goes back to November 2005.
There was a time when Cyborg was involved in one of the biggest dream fights in MMA. If the featherweight could make the cut down to 135 pounds, fans wanted to know if she could be the one to beat then-UFC champion Ronda Rousey.
The dreams of a superfight between Rousey and Cyborg don't have the allure they did a few months ago, though. With Rousey losing in stunning fashion to Holly Holm at UFC 193, she's no longer the revered champion waiting for a challenge. She's now just a contender—a contender whose interest in acting will delay her return to the Octagon until some time after UFC 200 in July.
"The filming of the movie got pushed back," White said. "She could do both, but the question is, should she do both? She could do both, but why should she? The filming is in a timeframe where she'd finish before 200, but it would be cutting it too close."
If Holm is Rocky Balboa for stunning Rousey, Justino is Clubber Lang.
The primary difference between a megafight involving Holm and Cyborg is that the new UFC champion isn't picky about weight-class differences. While Rousey was dubious of the Invicta champion making the cut down to 135 pounds, Holm doesn't put as much stock into what Cyborg does, per Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting:
I'm not against options for other fights. I don't know how high I would go. I have fought at heavier weights in boxing. It kind of changes things with MMA, because there's wrestling. Boxing, I think, is a little different, because you're not dealing with somebody's strength and weight on you as far as wrestling and grappling. But I do feel like I'm a bigger 135er. I don't know. I guess I would just have to see if whatever would unfold if that was an option.
Holm stopped short of saying that she would fight Cyborg at 145 pounds, but she doesn't seem to be as closed off to the idea as the former champion.
The door for Cyborg going down to 135 appears to be closed. The 30-year-old recently said she'd be willing to meet Holm in a superfight, but the cut to bantamweight is not happening.
"I'd make a superfight at 140," Cyborg said, per Raimondi. "I'm the world champ at 145. Why do I have to go down a division? Of course I want to make the fights nice for the fans, but I don't want to do something to make my life terrible."
With Cyborg's incredible stopping power, it would be an intriguing bout. Holm's polished striking creates quite the juxtaposition with her counterpart's knockout power. Justino finished 12 of her 14 opponents leading up to this fight.
The dream of Cyborg competing for the UFC Bantamweight Championship might be dead. But as long as she continues to be a seemingly unstoppable force in the cage, the demand for her to meet the UFC's best in the Octagon will loom.