Strikeforce women’s featherweight champ Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos has been waiting a long time to get back inside the cage and perform. Saturday night, Santos will face Hiroko Yamanaka at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal in the co-main event.
After successfully defending her title back in 2010 against Jan Finney via knockout, Santos was forced to the sidelines as contract negotiations took place. Now, “Cyborg” is ready to add another victim to her resume in Yamanaka.
“I’m very happy to fight and I know there are a lot of expectations around that,” said Santos, in a recent interview with Strikeforce’s website. “Even before thinking about winning the fight, I want to put on a really, really good show, and definitely for the fans, I’m going to go beyond any expectations.”
The 26-year-old became frustrated with the delay in working out a deal with Strikeforce, saying, “I’m always working to get female MMA to grow, and I want to see more girls fighting and I want to grow the event and make it better by giving the best show I can. So I was definitely frustrated with the big gap between fights because I always expect to fight three or four times a year if possible.”
As for her future now that Strikeforce has one, Santos is interested in competing in both the 135/145-pound divisions. That means a possible date with Ronda Rousey down the road, who is an up-and-coming fighter looking to make a big splash in women’s MMA.
In the main event of Saturday’s show, Gilbert Melendez will defend his Strikeforce lightweight title against Jorge Masvidal. Recently, it was announced that Melendez, Santos and the rest of Strikeforce’s non-heavyweight fighters will remain the company.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE