The world of women’s mixed martial arts is growing more rapidly each day, and more and more female stars are being born as a direct result of it. Before current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey emerged, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino was the face of the sport.

Cyborg captured the inaugural Strikeforce women’s featherweight championship by defeating Gina Carano via TKO. The championship was the first women’s belt awarded in a major promotion, which is a feather in her cap that nobody will ever be able to take away from her. The Brazilian’s credentials speak for themselves. Her only defeat was in her debut fight in 2005, and she currently holds the Invicta FC 145-pound championship belt.

But all is not well in the world of Cyborg. Last weekend, she lost a match-up to Jorina Baars, who was undefeated heading into the fight. Baars left the arena with the strap around her waist and all of the glory that comes along with a victory. Meanwhile, disappointment seems to be the sentiment of the moment in regards to the career of the Brazilian. Some folks are starting to think that Cyborg was overhyped, or that a potential star-studded match-up between Cyborg and Rousey, which is a fight that the MMA community has wanted for a long time, has gone with the wind.

But if you stop reading right there, you wouldn’t have the entire story. Cyborg was defeated during a Muay Thai bout, not a mixed martial arts contest. Baars was an undefeated Muay Thai champion, not an undefeated mixed martial artist (she’s actually 1-3 in MMA). The two ladies fought for the inaugural Lion Fight promotion’s welterweight title.

Unfortunately, there are people out there that are freaking out about how Cyborg lost a fight, even though it wasn’t a MMA bout. She has a reputation for completely controlling her fights, which more often than not results in the knockout of her opponent. However, it was different in this particular contest. Baars was the more dominant fighter when it came to Muay Thai.

What people need to realize is how different a Muay Thai bout is from a MMA bout. If the two had been fighting under MMA rules, Cyborg, realizing that she wasn’t getting the best of the striking while on the feet, could have shot for a takedown to put her ground-and-pound skills and purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to work. But, under the rules of a Muay Thai bout, a fighter is not allowed to work for the takedown and must stay on their feet.

MMA is unique because it is a mix of all combat sports wrapped up into one, almost a decathlon of the martial arts world. While London Olympic decathlon gold medalist Ashton Eaton proved that he was the best all around at the disciplines that encompass the sport, it would be shocking to see him beat two-time gold medalist Usain Bolt in the 100-meter dash, which is by far the Jamaican’s best event. Considering the losing record Baars possesses in professional MMA contests, it would be equally as shocking to see her defeat Cyborg in MMA.

It is common for mixed martial artists to branch out and compete in other disciplines in an effort to hone all of their skills. Many a fighter has competed in the Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission wrestling event, for example. If a UFC champion competed and didn’t win their respective tournament, it wouldn’t be a big deal. That’s because the skills that are required in the ADCC competition do not fully translate to the skills required to be successful in the Octagon.

The same can be said of Cyborg’s defeat last week in Muay Thai. It was a competition in just one aspect of MMA, and it doesn’t tarnish her reputation as a beast in the four-ounce gloves. Until Baars is able to do defeat Cyborg in the cage, at what Cyborg does best, we really have to pump the brakes on this story. The fact is that Cyborg ran into an elite Dutch kickboxer in the Lion Fight ring. In the cages of the MMA world, though, Cyborg is still the elite competitor.

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.