Hard-hitting Brazilian MMA superstar Cris "Cyborg" Santos will be making her bantamweight debut on Dec. 5 at Invicta FC 10, according to a Sept. 23 report from MMA Mania. Santos, 29, knows full well that the UFC doesn't have a female division for athletes who weigh more than 135 pounds, so she has no choice but to cut the extra 10 pounds to earn a fight with the promotion.
After close to a decade competing at 145 pounds, Santos is set to drop down to bantamweight to begin her journey towards a UFC title shot against current champ, "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey.
So far, Invicta Fighting Championships officials have not announced the host city or venue for Invicta FC 10. It also hasn't been announced who Santos will be stepping into the cage with on Dec. 5. Only the date for the event is in place, as more details will emerge in the days and weeks ahead.
Who should Santos duke it out with in her bantamweight debut? That's the tricky question fans have been wondering since the announcement was made that she'll be cutting down from her usual weight of 145, for a headlining scrap at Invicta FC 10. Should she take a relatively easy warm-up fight, or jump into deep waters with a bout against one of Invicta FC's top 135-pounders?
On one hand, it might be smart to take the safe route by going up against an athlete who isn't ranked in the top 20 in the world. Santos needs to impress UFC officials to earn a spot with the promotion, so she can't afford a loss at Invicta FC 10. On the other hand, fighting a high-level striker would prove she isn't afraid of a tough challenge, even if her first fight at 135 pounds.
In all likelihood, "Cyborg" is going to want a collision with one of the best in the world, even if it costs her a chance to compete in the UFC. Let's face it: A loss at Invicta FC 10 would be devastating to her career. The UFC might not give her a fight if she gets smoked in her bantamweight debut, so it's important that she wins in dominating fashion.
She wants UFC President Dana White and the rest of the UFC brass to see she's legit, without the assistance of performance-enhancing drugs. Santos likely would be in the UFC by now, had she not tested positive for stanozolol in 2011. The Brazilian superstar has tested clean every fight since then, but she's still working hard to rehab her tarnished image due to the positive drug test she turned in three years back.
Several of Invicta FC's top bantamweights have been called up to the UFC, but there are still many talented 135-pounders left on the roster. "Cyborg" was originally slated to fight Ediane Gomes on more than one occasion, for they never ended up fighting for a variety of reasons. Gomes recently re-upped her deal with Invicta Fighting Championships, so the thought is that she'll have the opportunity to fight Santos if top bantamweight contender, Tonya Evinger, is unavailable.
Elsewhere, Cindy Dandois fights Kaitlin Young at Invicta FC 9. If the winner of that bout turns in a dominating performance and walks away unscathed, they'll also be in title contention. Irene Aldana is another name in the mix for a shot at Santos. With Invicta FC 10 just around the corner, here's a look at five MMA superstars who could possibly fight Santos: