At UFC 232, Amanda Nunes authored one of the most important upsets in UFC history, knocking out Cris Cyborg in just 51 seconds to claim the featherweight title and stake her claim as the greatest female mixed martial artist of all time. But as impressive of a performance as it was from Nunes, Cyborgs coach, Jason Parillo, says that really his pupil beat herself.
Speaking with MMAjunkie recently, Parillo said that Cyborgs years of invincibility led her to disrespect Nunes power, which ultimately led to the KO.
I saw Cris go out there and beat herself, Parillo told recently. Ive said it in many interviews before, and it was always my biggest concern which is her just going for broke, losing the plot and swinging wild. Just going back to old school Cyborg.
Because I told her that the higher we climb the ladder, were not going to be able to get away with this style. We need to think a little bit more and stay behind the jab. I know Cris. I know my fighter and saw the way she reacted to that leg kick when it hit her. Instead of moving out and staying behind her jab, she went for broke off the get-go and got caught doing it.
It was very much oh no you didnt, and she just started swinging for the fences. Cris went straight disrespect mode, like she can walk down anybody, but she was in there with a skillful fighter who has a really good punch. Thats how maybe Cris was going to get beaten, against someone who has the fortitude to be able to sit in there with that aggressive style. You have to respect Amanda for that.
Theres a reason Cyborg felt invincible though. For the last 13 years, she was. Cyborgs run of dominance since losing in her pro debut is among the best the sport has ever seen. Over that time period, she amassed a 20-0 record with one no-contest, a 16-second TKO victory that was later overturned due to a failed drug test. Her streak was so terrifying that Cyborg soon had trouble finding suitable opponents to challenge her, forcing her to try and cut down to 135 pounds despite clearly being unable to make the weight safely. In recent years, the UFC finally began building a featherweight division for her and Parillo says that if there is one good thing to come from getting knocked out, its that now more women might be looking to get in the mix at 145, meaning more opportunities for Cyborg.
Im hoping it opens up the division and creates more opponents, Parillo said. Youve got to remember that Cat Zingano beat Amanda, and Megan Anderson just beat Zingano. So, now theres a little mix going on at 145 pounds, and thats the way weve got to look at it.
Of course, that presumes that Cyborg sticks around the UFC. The former champions contract with the organization is set to expire in March and now that she has lost the title, Dana White may be less interested in staying in the Cyborg business. Along those lines, White suggested that he saw no need for an immediate rematch for Cyborg, despite her unprecedented run of success. But Parillo waived off any concerns of Cyborg going elsewhere to fight, and of the immediate rematch, saying that their first priority now was reclaiming the title, and that if they needed to fight someone before a rematch, Cyborg is ready to get back in the cage immediately.
Were not going to leave the UFC, Parillo said. Were going to stay there, plug away and get back the title that Cris had. She has the time and ability to do it. . . Ive just got to do my job. Are they going to give her an immediate rematch? I dont think so, but thats OK.
If we could get a fight between now and March, that would be wonderful, but I dont know if thats going to happen. The negotiations are obviously the managers job, and I just want the best for Cris.
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