Cris Cyborg wants two more Bellator title defences before boxing debut next year
Bellator featherweight champion Cris Cyborg wants to defend her title three times before making a long-awaited and lucrative switch to boxing next year.
The MMA legend has been touted for a big-money move to the ring, where Katie Taylor and Claressa Shields are both prospective opponents, but she is focusing on her MMA career for the moment.
"It's a dream for me to box one day," she said, speaking with Mirror Fighting ahead of her second title defence against Leslie Smith. "This year I probably won't be able to because I have a lot of of fights planned in MMA.
"My manager Audie Attar will take care of that and I think my fans can look out for news on my boxing fight some time next year."
Boxing champion Claressa Shields will make the transition the opposite way next month when she debuts for the PFL, and Cyborg believes that a two-fight crossover deal; where both fighters agree to a bout in the others' sport, is a good option
"Maybe I could do something with Claressa Shields where I do one in boxing and then we do an MMA fight, and you know I think Katie Taylor could do that too and people would be excited about that.
"Claressa Shields is very young and she's got very good skills in boxing, which is important because the fight starts standing up, but she'll need to work on her takedown defence which she's already doing.
"It's a great challenge, but I believe she's going to do great because she's really working hard."
The 22-2 fighter has looked unbeatable since joining Bellator, but wants to take on all comers in her division including the likes of Cat Zingano and Sinead Kavanagh.
And while she is open to a potential deal with WWE or AEW to make a pro wrestling debut, she believes she would need to dedicate too much time to be able to commit to boxing this year.
"I could probably do pro wrestling," she continued. "But for boxing I would have to really focus for a couple of months and right now I'm trying to work on my MMA."
Fans in the UK can watch Cyborg's second Bellator title defence live on the BBC iPlayer on Friday night, on a card that also features British fighters Alfie Davis and Fabian Edwards as well as the long-awaited return of Ireland's Leah McCourt.
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