It had been almost two years since we saw Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos had graced a Strikeforce cage, mainly due to contract issues and a lack of credible opponents. Finally stepping back into the cage, and against the #2 rated fighter in her division, Santos came in and destroyed Hiroko Yamanaka in less time than one imagines it took her to lace up her gloves in the locker room. For all the hype that accompanied Yamanaka, a former dominatrix turned fighter, Santos destroyed her in a way that reminded anyone with more than a passing knowledge of MMA of Wanderlei Silva and the old Chute Boxe fighters of the Pride era.
It may be argued that it was a premature stoppage but one can’t argue that it was more of a mercy stop than anything else. Yamanaka was about to be finished within the minute, perhaps the next 10 seconds, so it was a matter of stopping the fight before the Japanese fighter was carried out of the ring instead of merely helped out of it. And every woman wanting to challenge her ought to be very, very scared of Cyborg right now.
While Ronda Rousey may be making headlines for her trash talk and wanting a piece of either Miesha Tate or Santos, and Tate indulging her while Santos merely implying that she just talks too much for her own good, Rousey perhaps needs to take Santos’s words with some proper judgment at this point. Rousey may have a handful of flashy submission victories and an Olympic Bronze Medal in Judo on her resume but Santos is on a different level than anything she’s envisioned in her nightmares.
While the story from Tito Ortiz (and verified by others) about Santos slamming him out of a triangle choke is fairly legendary and her power is seemingly the equivalent of a male in her weight class, Santos has gone from being the best fighter in her division and in all of women’s MMA to being something else. And the only way to describe her now is in terms of men because describing her as a women’s fighter seems kind of insulting at this point.
Watching Santos open up on Yamanaka was akin to watching Shogun or Wanderlei in Pride or early Chuck Liddell in the UFC; you didn’t want to imagine what it was like being on the receiving end of her strikes. She throws them with a vicious nature that belies her normally sweet nature outside the cage; inside of it “Cyborg” is by far the best women’s fighter in the world. After nearly 18 months off, Santos came back and looked just as crisp as when she delivered the Beatdown of 2010 against Jan Finney.
Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos may have a higher profile than her husband, an oddity of a distinction amongst married or dating fighters also shared by Tate and Bryan Caraway, but it’s for a good reason. She’s the baddest woman on the planet. Scott Coker has said he would scour the world for talent to take on Cyborg; one imagines that once more female fighters see this path of carnage that few takers will emerge than he hopes.
Tags: Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, Mixed Martial Arts, Ronda Rousey, Strikeforce