Cristiane Justino has reunited with former Strikeforce boss Scott Coker, as the highly-coveted free agent has signed a contract with Bellator MMA.
Coker, now the Bellator president, announced the deal on social media, calling it “the biggest contract in women’s MMA history.” A date and opponent for “Cyborg’s” promotional debut are currently unknown.
“I’m very excited to announce that I’m going to be partnering with Scott Coker and Viacom and fighting in Bellator,” Justino said in a video shared by Coker. “And you guys know I have a lot of girls that want to fight at 145 pounds. This means [I’m] gonna have a lot of fights per year and I’m very happy about that.
“My goal is to be the only female fighter to hold four different major titles in the same division. I know with you guys [Bellator], I can do that.”
“Cyborg” has held the featherweight crown in the Strikeforce, Invicta and UFC organizations over the course of her career. She completed her last UFC contract in July, and the Las Vegas-based promotion waived its exclusive negotiating period with the Brazilian, allowing her to become a free agent.
Justino had a 21-fight unbeaten streak snapped in December, when she surrendered her featherweight crown to Amanda Nunes in a 51-second KO loss at UFC 232. She fought out her contract at UFC 240, taking a unanimous verdict over Felicia Spencer. Justino was at odds with UFC president Dana White throughout out her tenure.
Julia Budd is currently the champion of women’s featherweight division in Bellator. The weight class also includes talents such as Olga Rubin, Arlene Blencowe, Janay Harding and Leslie Smith, to name a few.
“I have worked with countless athletes over my thirty-plus years of promoting combat sports, but there is no one quite like ‘Cyborg’,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “Her ability to excite the crowd from the moment she makes her walk to the cage is special, and having had the pleasure of promoting several of her fights in the past, I am looking forward to the opportunity of promoting her once again.
“‘Cyborg’ is the most dominant female fighter in the history of the sport and she will be a perfect fit here at Bellator, where champion Julia Budd and the other women that make up best female featherweight division in the world have eagerly awaited her arrival.”