Cris Cyborg’s plan: Beat Julia Budd at Bellator 238, then grand prix in Japan

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Cris Cyborg has a plan.

The former UFC, Strikeforce, and Invicta featherweight champion, Cyborg (21-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) looks to add Bellator gold to her trophy case when she takes on current champ Julia Budd. The fight headlines Bellator 238.

The first part of Cyborg’s plan is obvious: win her promotional debut Jan. 25. Cyborg acknowledges Budd (13-2 MMA, 7-0 BMMA) will likely be a stiff test, especially given the Canadian’s credentials in the organization.

“I think she’s a great fighter,” Cyborg told reporters, including MMA Junkie at a Monday media day at her gym. “She’s the champion at 145 pounds and she’s been a champion a long time. She’s undefeated eight years. She’s going to be a great challenge for me … I always like to challenge myself if I have the opportunity. I think it’s a big thing to sign with Bellator.”

Following what she hopes will be a successful outing in Inglewood, Calif., Cyborg aims to check another item off her bucket list. The 34-year-old featherweight said it would be a dream come true to partake in a Bellator grand prix in Japan.

On the men’s side, Bellator’s heavyweight, welterweight, and featherweight classes have participated in grand prix in recent years. The company has yet to hold a grand prix in any of the women’s divisions.

“My focus first is Julia,” Cyborg said. “If I had the opportunity, I think one dream I have is to make a grand prix. I think being in Bellator, Scott (Coker) would be open to that – making more than one fight a night.

“I think it’s going to be a Japan event. I mean, shoot boxing has a lot of fighters over there that do that. I think it’s going to be a dream – a dream coming true for me.”

Bellator 238 takes place Jan. 25 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. The main card streams on DAZN following prelims on MMA Junkie.

To hear more from Cyborg, watch the video linked above.