Another high-profile UFC champion is interested in boxing.
Cris “Cyborg” Justino, the UFC’s current female featherweight champion, has been granted a professional boxing license in California, her team confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.
“Cris has always shown an interest and passion for all combat sports,” said George Prajin, Justino’s longtime manager. “She loves to challenge her skills.
“She wants to professionally box in 2018, while of course taking into consideration how Zuffa (parent company of the UFC) feels about it. Any decision on a boxing match would be made with that in mind.”
Justino (18-1) won the UFC’s 145-pound championship in July, by defeating Tonya Evinger. She is widely considered the most devastating female striker in mixed martial arts history, with 16 career wins by knockout.
Originally from Brazil, now fighting out of California, Justino is currently negotiating a potential new deal with the UFC. Her contract expires in October, although she will not become an unrestricted free agent at that time.
MMAFighting.com first reported Justino’s boxing license, as well as the UFC’s right to an exclusive one-year negotiating window. Prajin declined to discuss specifics of Justino’s status, but champions clauses and exclusive negotiation periods are not uncommon.
Justino has made no secret of whom she wishes to fight next. She’s publicly called for a featherweight title defense against former bantamweight champion Holly Holm on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas.
Late last month, Holm told ESPN she’s “open” to facing Justino on that date.
“My [UFC] contract is at 135 pounds,” Holm said. “So, if they came with a fight like that, I would say, ‘Let’s negotiate.’
“I truly feel that is one of, if not the biggest female fights they can promote. I’m not in it for the priority of money, but I value myself. My biggest passion is about the fight itself, but this is my career and anybody looking out for their career is looking at the facts. This is a huge fight and I’m sure everybody around it, the promotion, is going to make money. So, I would expect more money.”