Cris “Cyborg” Justino last dealt with defeat following her UFC debut in 2005, so she was justifiably out of sorts after Amanda Nunes took her women’s featherweight belt last month.
“I couldn’t sleep the first night and I definitely couldn’t watch the fight again,” Justino said of a first-round knockout loss in Los Angeles. “It was just something that happened. I feel blessed to have stayed undefeated for 13 years. I was sad for a few days, but I always just leave it in God’s hands. It’s up to me to train as hard as I can, but the victory is in his hands. If he chooses to bless someone else that day, I can not be upset because he has the best plan for us.”
She has a plan of her own. Justino believes she deserves a rematch and began lobbying it for it as soon as she got back to the locker room.
Justino, who was in Las Vegas to attend Manny Pacquiao’s fight against Adrien Broner on Saturday night, still wants another shot at Nunes.
She also asked for a rematch of her 2005 loss on a Show Fight card in Brazil and never got it. Perhaps that’s why she’s a bit pessimistic about getting her wish this time.
“If I don’t get it, I’m not going to be surprised,” said Justino, who only has one fight left on her contract. “I’m going to continue working hard. You can’t be upset at things you can’t control. But I want that fight really bad.”
Justino, who says the loss to Nunes still sometimes hits her at random times during the day, also wants a new deal with the UFC. She knows she has options, though.
“I’m going to try to work with them because I want to be here,” she said. “I think people like watching my fight and my fans follow me wherever I fight. But I brought my fans with me to the UFC. I was ‘Cyborg’ before the UFC. The UFC didn’t make me. If they don’t want to work with me, of course I’ll be sad. But I know my star will shine no matter where I am because I love doing my job.”
Debut event a success for ESPN
ESPN announced over 525,000 new subscribers signed up for ESPN-Plus on Saturday, making the debut UFC event the largest catalyst for new subscribers on the platform to date, according to a news release.
“Our first UFC Fight Night on ESPN-Plus was a thrilling evening of action and a great success, with a record-setting night that continued the momentum for ESPN-Plus, delivered strong ratings on ESPN and marks a great start to our new agreement with the UFC,” said Kevin Mayer, Chairman, Direct-To-Consumer and International for The Walt Disney Company. “It was a milestone evening, with the success driven by outstanding joint efforts from the teams at DTCI and ESPN.”
The preliminary card aired on ESPN after the Duke-Virginia college basketball game.
Eye on the prize
White revealed after Saturday’s event the organization had settled on an opponent for Valentina Shevchenko’s first defense of the women’s flyweight title.
“Jessica Eye is next,” he said at the news conference.
No date has been set for the fight.