Cris Cyborg def. Yana Kunitskaya via TKO (Round 1, 3:25)
The nickname doesn’t exactly humanize her.
If Cristiane Justino were known to fight fans as “The Karate Hottie” or “Cupcake” — these are actual nicknames of actual women in actual UFC fights — she’d still be viewed as an indomitable force, what with her 13-year run of invincibility in mixed martial arts. But at least she would be depicted as a force of nature. The robotic moniker that’s instead been hung on Justino, “Cyborg,” carries with it cruel connotations.
Being viewed as strong and exceptional surely feels flattering to an athlete, but machine-like, even monstrous? Not so kind.
The nickname does look appropriate, though, sitting atop the 32-year-old Brazilian’s résumé. Justino has not lost a fight since her 2005 professional debut. Since then she has 20 conquests, 17 by knockout. For as long as many fans can remember, Cyborg has brutalized badly overmatched opponents, and Saturday night was the latest installment of that superhero serialization.