HONOLULU – Cris Cyborg made relatively quick work of Arlene Blencowe when they fought in 2020. That’s why many fans were surprised when a rematch was announced to headline Bellator 279 on Saturday.
The motivation is clear for Blencowe (15-4 MMA, 8-4 BMMA), who wants to avenge her loss, upset an all-time great and become Bellator champion. For Cyborg (25-2 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), however, it’s just about continuing to fight the best options available and she thinks Blencowe is that right now.
“She’s been beating all the girls,” Cyborg told MMA Junkie at a news conference Thursday. “She’s continued to be No. 1 in the division. I just have to be ready, training. For sure, she’s going to be stronger than before. I’m ready. When you get the rematch, you have to prepare for any situation in the fight. I just feel ready and strong to go.”
Cyborg hasn’t really seen improvement in Blencowe’s game since their Bellator 249 clash in October 2020 – at least not ones big enough to make a difference in result. Despite this, Cyborg isn’t putting pressure on herself to outperform the result, a second-round submission. It’s not a contest to outdo herself.
“I think I just have to do my game, focus on what I want to do in the fight, and for sure I have to be careful what my opponent is going to do,” Cyborg said. “I have to be ready for any situation in a fight. … I always have five rounds to finish the fight. You never go into a fight thinking it’s going to finish fast. If it’s fast, it’s lucky. You did your best. But I’m ready to do five rounds and just have patience to see if the opportunity is going to happen. … I think have to finish the fight and I have five rounds to do that.”
Bellator 279 takes place Saturday at Neal S. Blaisdell Center with the main card airing on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.