ByAmy Kaplan, writer at
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Amy Kaplan

Invicta featherweight champion Cris "Cyborg" Justino is one of the strongest and most formidable women in MMA, and has been so for the last 10 years. But, she's always been in an odd state of limbo when it comes to the UFC — there's no weight class for her.

This situation has gotten even muddier with UFC president Dana White saying she had turned down two title fights at featherweight due to issues with weight. She says that her weight cutting issues bordered on life threatening due, in part, to a nutritionist the UFC appointed.

Cyborg released this statement to MMA Fighting:

In my last weight cut I almost died. I was in the bathtub cutting weight, and I thought, ‘I will die in this bathtub.’ It was the worst weight cut in my life. My nutritionist George Lockhart, who, by the way, is a UFC employee, didn’t do an effective job with this birth control pill he indicated saying that would help me. But thank God, in a war, I made weight, cutting 24 pounds in a week. My body was retaining a lot of water.

For the first time I didn’t warm up in the locker room like I do for every fight because I was too weak. I was just praying for God and went for the fight, and, once again, God gave me the victory. The next day, like I always do after my fights, I did blood tests to see if everything was okay after a terrible weight cut. And for the first time, the nurses couldn’t take my blood, it was so thick it wouldn’t come out, so we couldn’t do tests.

I got a call from the UFC offering me another catchweight fight, and I said I would not fight at this weight anymore. I needed a break to get my health back to normal because my body was weak, I was anemic.

After that, they invited me to fight again, but this time at my weight and for the belt, but with 10 weeks’ notice.

You can read the rest of the statement here.

made her UFC debut when she defeated Leslie Smith at UFC 198, she then went on to appear as the main event at UFC Fight Night Brasilia where she defeated Lina Lansberg. She has gone unbeaten for more than 10 years and has a stunning 17-1, 1 NC record. The 1 no-contest came after failing a drug test in Strikeforce. She currently holds an title, but has not fought for the promotion since January 2016.


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