The bad blood between Kayla Harrison and Cris Cyborg continues to boil.
Two of the most prominent women in MMA history have exchanged some fight-provoking words over social media recently. Although Harrison and Cyborg have walked different paths in their MMA careers and are not in the same promotion, the two appear ready and willing to throw down at some point. Obviously, fans of WMMA would want to see the two phenoms battle it out. Neither have turned down a fight and are always willing to prove that they are the best. A win for either woman will put them on a pedastal within the sport and give them timeless bragging rights. Between their showstopping performances and their love of the sport, their battle in the cage is destined to be a match no one will want to miss.
The MMA Grand Slam and Bellator women's featherweight champion versus the undefeated Professional Fighters League lightweight world champion would be nonstop action. Almost every cage battle has seen these women give their all and devastate their opponents. Cyborg has two nasty defeats on her record, and Harrison will either add to that or meet the first loss of her career. Regardless, there is little doubt that it will be an exciting match; a highlight reel in the women's division for the ages. Here are five reasons for this bout to take place.
#5. It's the perfect matchup
"Kayla Harrison issues challenge to Cris Cyborg: ‘If you’re not scared and you’re not running, come fight me here’ (@jedkmeshew)"
Outside of promotional conflicts, the matchup will not be difficult to make. For example, they can fight at either featherweight or lightweight, so making weight would not be an issue. Cyborg has already agreed to go up to 155 pounds to fight Harrison. Additionally, Harrison has fought at the Bellator champion's weight of 145 pounds in the past at Invicta and has also agreed to fight at whatever weight necessary.
Cyborg has outclassed most of her competition with brutal knockouts. With 20 in total under her four title belts, she is the official KO queen. Meanwhile, her rival has submitted and knocked out most of her opponents in vicious fashion. A small percentage of their bouts have ended in a decision, which begs the question of how will one dominate the other in the cage? They have a similar skillset and a strong desire to win. It is hard to see the match going the distance when both fighters have incredible punching power and can end fights in dramatic fashion.
#4. Put an end to the verbal beef
"Hey @criscyborg @ me if you have something to say. I’m so sick of this shit. @AmericanTopTeam’s addy is 5750 sr 7 coconut creek fl. I’m there 6 days a week. https://twitter.com/criscyborg/status/1498781211228966912."
The two have gone back-and-forth with each other on Twitter on more than one occasion.
For months, the MMA champions trash-talked one another and demanded a fight. In the tweet above, Harrison made it clear that she wants to put an end to their verbal battle and take care of things on the mat. However, their Twitter exchanges did take a slight halt when she was blocked by the Brazilian. According to Cyborg, the block was in response to Harrison signing with the PFL. To elaborate, while the PFL fighter was a free agent a few months ago, Cyborg became interested in the possibility of her joining Bellator to set up their bout.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist made a joke out of being blocked not too soon after:
"Dang it. I went too far. Cris please fight me! I won’t use judo just wrestling."
The tweet below was Cyborg's response to an internet troll on why she blocked her on Twitter:
"Nah. I blocked her cause she. Could have signed with @BellatorMMA and made the fight but didn’t."
Neither fighter should have to resort to Twitter to speak ill of each other. Instead, they should let their fists do the talking when they face each other in the cage, and only the winner be able to claim the bragging rights.
#3. Either fighter will gain another title
Both MMA queens have their own titles to defend and when one defeats the other, it's possible that a title will have to be given up.
Cyborg is the reigning champion of Bellator's women's featherweight division. Since joining the promotion back in 2019, no one has been able to put a stop to her, and after winning the title from Julia Budd in 2020, nothing has changed. The Brazilian fighter gained her fourth MMA belt and has already defended it 5 times. If Cyborg were to do a cross-promotion fight and win, that would add a fifth belt to her resume. The outstanding accomplishment would make her the first and only MMA fighter to gain a championship title in five promotions, topping her 4-time grand slam achievement.
A win for Harrison would put her on the path to becoming the next MMA Grand Slam champion. If she decides to fight Cyborg at Bellator and comes out as the victor, she wiill acquire a second world championship title.
Of course, if their bout ends up being a non-title fight, then neither will have to worry about losing their precious gold. But if all the stakes are on the line, then they both have a lot to lose, but also a lot to gain.
#2. Undeniable experience for Harrison
It is almost impossible to speak of women's MMA without hearing the name Cris Cyborg. Her phenomenal professional career spans over 17 years and she has fought against the best. It is no wonder the undefeated champion called her out and yearns for a fight. It takes the best to beat the best, so fighting Cyborg will be the biggest test of Harrison's career.
Having mainly fought in the PFL and for a short stint in Invicta, Harrison has not fought anywhere near the caliber of fighters that Cyborg has. Cyborg, on the other hand, has tested her might against some of the toughest female competitors in MMA, including Gina Carano, Holly Holm, and Amanda Nunes. All those years of experience are sure to be brought into the cage. Regardless, if Harrison loses the super fight to Cyborg, it would be by one of the best to ever do it. The defeat will come as a learning experience and potentially make the former judoka a more dangerous fighter.
#1. The legend vs. the legend killer
Cyborg recently resparked the verbal battle between Harrison and herself when she criticized the fighter for claiming to no longer be interested in their fight.
"@MMAJunkie “I see a lot of areas where I need to keep getting better, so my focus is on me, not on Cyborg. I’m tired of talking about her. I’m tired of thinking about her.—wears this to media day."
Harrison said she wants to push the Cyborg-talk to the side and focus on her current reign in the PFL. The shirt controversy adds some insight into whether or not the fight will happen in the future. Agreeably, both women are legends in their own right, but if Harrison claims to be a "legend killer", she will have to face the legendary Cris Cyborg. Her legacy spans over many years and platforms such as the Storm Samurai, UFC, and Invicta. It will take a dominant victory to take down someone who has proven their staus over multiple times.
The only way to find out if Harrison has "legend killer" abilities is for them to face off in what could be the most epic match in women's MMA history.