Cris Cyborg reflects on historic fourth major championship won at Bellator 238: ‘I feel blessed’

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. — In case you haven’t noticed through the years, Cris Cyborg never has been one to brag or boast. Over the course of a 20-fight winning streak during which she won three major championships, she was quite content to let others sing her praises.

On Saturday night, Cyborg (22-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) made history when she defeated Julia Budd by fourth-round TKO in the main event of Bellator 238 at The Forum to capture the company’s featherweight title.

The Bellator belt was added to a career trophy case that also includes belts in Strikeforce, Invicta FC, and the UFC. And while Cyborg is still not one to boast, she was willing to allow that she has left an indelible impact on the sport.

“I was never thinking this is going to happen,” Cyborg told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at the Bellator 238 post-fight news conference. “When I start, I have a dream. I have a dream I want to do my best. One thing I have in my heart, I want to prove that girls can fight like the guys. We can be violent, we can be technical, you can make the people like you and watch your fights. … I’m thankful. I feel blessed I have the opportunity to hold four titles.”

Cyborg, who said she broke her nose two weeks before the fight, went through why each championship had meaning.

The Strikeforce belt was won over Gina Carano in 2009 in the first major MMA event headlined by a women’s fight. The Invicta title came during a trying time in her career. The UFC belt, despite all her acrimony with the company, represented a victory because it established her weight class in the promotion.

“I think every belt is something special for me,” Cyborg said. “First one, Strikeforce, is the first featherweight division, (Bellator president) Scott Coker makes 145 pounds. Invicta, I came from a hard time in my career and everyone saying, ‘She needs to prove (herself), she needs to prove,’ and they come, and I fight for the Invicta belt.

“And UFC, we make the difference. We make history. I have my division there; they never wanted to have me there. My fans put me there. I cut weight two times for 140. I almost killed myself, but we make the history. Now they have that. And now Bellator.”

Cyborg wasn’t ready to call her next shot after her victory, saying she was content to let Coker handle things from there. For now. she’s going to take a little time to appreciate the moment.

“Sometimes you do something nice for the people, and I’m going to change them forever,” Cyborg said. “That means the most to me. To hold the belt as a symbol is nice. People love it, and I love it a lot different, but for me is just a symbol.”