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Leslie Smith ‘pissed’ at ref stoppage; what’s next for Cris Cyborg?

(Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

(Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)


If there’s one thing that’s for certain, its UFC Women’s Bantamweight Leslie Smith is really pissed and you can’t really blame her.

Smith took to social media after her TKO loss to Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino last night at UFC 198 in Curitiba, Brazil, expressing her thoughts on the referee stoppage not even two minutes into the first round.

“I’m pissed as hell about the stoppage. The fights that were allowed to keep going in the same cage on the same night showed that my stoppage was definitely early. I would have liked a chance to try my hardest and I wasn’t done fighting. Now I have to go home to everyone who made sacrifices for me to get to this fight and even though they might not hold it against me I know it was a huge disappointment. I’ll fight again ASAP as long as there is a legit ref like Herb Dean. Congrats Cristiane Justino Cyborgs” – Leslie Smith’s Facebook post

Odds makers had Smith as a drastic underdog for the 140-catchweight bout. If there’s one thing we know about Smith though, it’s that she’s tough. Does anyone remember this is the same girl whose ear exploded in her fight against Jessica Eye and wanted to keep going? Although Cyborg was dominating the round, having dropped Smith after a series of hard hits ending with a hard cross, she was being smart about defending herself. As Smith stated in her Facebook post, there were fights that lasted longer on the stacked pay-per-view card last night than hers, questioning what the outcome would have been if it wasn’t stopped only 81 seconds in.

On her streak of dropping bodies left and right in the 145-division of Invicta, it seems like there is no real competition for Cyborg, the all-women leagues’ dominating featherweight champion. Much of the same used to be said for former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey until she met her match at UFC 193. Will the UFC bring the real competition to Cyborg? After last night’s performance on the feet, UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby should have two prospects in mind for Cyborg’s next match up—both of which agreed to do the 140-catch weight months back—former Women’s Bantamweight champion Holly Holm and current Women’s Bantamweight champion Miesha Tate.

Many commented on social media how Cyborg didn’t call out Rousey following her first round TKO victory at her long-awaited UFC debut. Why would she? What is there to prove? If Rousey was still the champion and on her undefeated win streak then absolutely this would have the making of a huge super-fight, but the appeal of the match up dropped just as fast as Rousey did in her KO loss to Holm in November.

Any plans of Cyborg putting back on her Reebok gear soon will have to wait. “I’m the Invicta champion and I want to defend my belt,” Cyborg said, in her post-fight interview. “I also want to fight at a catch weight in the UFC. But I’m the champion.” Until the UFC introduces the female 145-pound division, this is the best place for Cyborg to reign. After reports that the cut to 140-pounds was more a struggle than anticipated, cutting down to 135-pounds doesn’t seem realistic, or smart on a professional level.

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Kristine is a Managing Editor for as well as UFC/MMA Lead Writer. She also hosts a column known as Fighting Words.
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