Bellator MMA women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg recently expressed interest in a superfight showdown with 2019 PFL women’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison, but according to a source the megafight could have already happened at 155 had Cyborg signed with the PFL in 2019.
In fact, Cyborg vs. Harrison was exactly the women’s superfight the PFL had in mind two years ago when the company did its best to sign Cyborg after the legendary MMA champ’s contract with the UFC expired.
Instead, Cyborg decided to sign with Bellator MMA, presumedly so she could continue feasting on the 145-pound fighters to which she’s grown accustomed to beating.
Meanwhile, Harrison went on to grab PFL gold at 155 pounds, as well as that company’s $1 million-dollar prize for winning the women’s lightweight tournament.
Cyborg vs. Harrison might be a future cross-promotional superfight between two of the biggest MMA superstars in the world today, but it’s also something that could have happened already.
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Cyborg’s Rare Championship Feat
Cyborg signed with Bellator MMA in 2019, and the 35-year-old Brazilan went on to capture the women’s featherweight championship for that organization.
That made Cybrog the first and only MMA fighter in history to win championships for UFC, Bellator MMA, Invicta FC, and Strikeforce. It’s something Cyborg calls a “Grand Slam”, and she’s been lauded by the likes of UFC superstar Conor McGregor and many others for having achieved it.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 26, 2020
So Cyborg is considered by most MMA observers to be one of the most accomplished champions in MMA history.
In a combat sports world frequently way too quick to crown fighters as the “greatest of all time”, Cyborg’s long history of excellence is one of the few cases that might actually warrant that kind of consideration.
Still, some have criticized Cyborg for refusing to move up in weight in the past, and sources stated that Cyborg’s main contention about joining the PFL’s growing roster of talent in 2019 was that she didn’t want to face Harrison at 155.
Recently, Cyborg suggested that might no longer be an issue.
“I believe this year she’s gonna fight for PFL, she’s gonna be in a tournament at 155, and if she becomes the champion of this tournament, for sure I would like to make a match with her that all the fans would like to watch,” Cyborg told James Lynch on her YouTube channel.
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Cyborg Could Have Signed With PFL in 2019
Cyborg received several lucrative offers back in 2019, but sources say the PFL’s offer was very strong.
Regardless, Cyborg ultimately chose Bellator for what PFL president Ray Selfo described back then as “competitive and personal reasons”.
“I think she wanted to stay in the 145-pound division,” Sefo said per MMA Junkie.
Indeed, when Cyborg hit free agency after leaving the UFC, Harrison, the PFL’s impressive women’s lightweight prodigy, issued a bold challenge to Cyborg via TMZ Sports.
“Hi Cris, I heard you lost your job, but if you’re interested, the PFL has a very special place for you, and it’s second [place],” Harrison told TMZ Sports.
But Cyborg didn’t end up accepting the challenge, and Sefo told MMA Junkie after her decision that it was probably because she wanted to stay at featherweight as well as her relationship with Bellator MMA president Scott Coker.
“I think she felt a little bit more comfortable because of that past history,” said Sefo per MMA Junkie.
Harrison Continues Pressing for Superfight
Harrison might not yet have the same length of time as a professional MMA fighter under her belt, but the two-time Olympic gold medalist in Judo has already risen to the top of the sport since starting her pro fighting career back in 2018.
The 30-year-old American has consistently stated she desires megafights against the best fighters in the sport, including Cyborg.
“Of course, I would love to fight Cyborg,” Harrison said per MMA Junkie in 2020. “She’s one of the greats. I don’t think it’ll happen before the PFL season, but I’ll fight anybody.”
Harrison’s challenge to Cyborg in 2019 didn’t end up getting her the superfight, but she remains hopeful the fight can happen in the future.
“That’s the goal, the goal is to become the greatest of all time. But Cyborg is another female superstar legend. She’s a legend of the sport and I would jump at that opportunity,” Harrison said per MMA Junkie.
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