* Translation by Sarah Bella Mondragon
Photo by Flavio Scorsato

Cristiane Justino Venâncio Santos is the new female featherweight Champion of MMA. She conquered the belt against Gina Carano and won on the first round by knock out in August 2009. Almost one year later, she is still keeping her championship belt and is in the World Top 3 Female pound per pound. We had the opportunity to interview this female MMA champion and here we share it with you.

Soul Brasil – Where did you born? Can you tell me something of your childhood and your teen years?
Cris Cyborg – I was born in Curitiba in the South state of Parana in Brazil. I was always surrounded with my family in my life and since I was very small I have been fascinated with all involving sports. I started getting really involved at age of twelve and my life then was just training and studying. I actually practiced many different kinds of sports until I really got into handball and athletics. I competed a lot in these different forms. I used to think that I had already found the sport of my life, until at 19 I found out about MMA.

Soul Brasil – And how was it that you made this discovery?
Cris Cyborg – Everything happened at a handball game when someone that I didn’t know came to talk to me and asked me if I had ever heard of MMA. In truth, I had never even heard of, much less had any idea of what it could be. He gave me a business card with his name and the name of his training center called “Chute Boxe”. He said that I should check it out. In the beginning I wasn’t really interested in going to his studio. Yet every time I would go to train and work out I would see this guy again and he would ask me: “Have you gone to check out Chute Boxe?” So one day I finally went, I took one class and I loved it!

Soul Brasil – Tell us a little about starting out in Brazil and why you have the name “Cyborg”.
Cris Cyborg – I always was very disciplined in all of the sports that I practiced and always tried to make it my objective to do everything it took to do my best and not to worry about the consequences. So then, when I was training at Kick Boxing I met my husband Evangelista “Cyborg” who also is a fighter. So from then on my last name was stuck being Cris “Cyborg”. I competed a lot as a fighter in Brazil, but it got to the point where there was no one left to fight. There were two years when I didn’t fight competitively at all. It was then that there came the opportunity to come to United States to train and fight. Soul Brasil – What martial art was it a priority for you to begin with?
Cris Cyborg – I began with Muay Thai and then I learned to incorporate others important martial art forms, among them Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This fusion is very important if you think seriously about competing on MMA, and in particular the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on floor technique.

Soul Brasil – You came directly to San Diego? Why then San Diego? Cris Cyborg – Yes, I came directly to San Diego here in California. In truth I chose San Diego because it is where many of my long time beloved friends live. Also because San Diego is a beautiful city, with many parks, training centers, beach, and for sure the excellent weather.

Soul Brasil – Tell me a little about your routine of preparation, your diet, weight and height.
Cris Cyborg – My diet and my preparation is the area of my trainer Rafael Alejarra who takes care of this and keeps me fueled with the power and weight that I need. I just follow his recommendations with much dedication and it bring to me good results. I have 145 pounds for 5’8″ by height.

Soul Brasil – Tell us a little about women in the MMA and from your point of view what are the perspectives? Cris Cyborg – The female MMA is getting more and more popular and I am really happy about this. I will do what is within my reach to be able to contribute to its greater popularity and to see more doors opening for women in the MMA. The perspectives really are great. I think that by fighting well competitively and showing all of my potential I can contribute to the MMA attracting more and more interest from the public in general.

Soul Brasil – So to end, tell me your plans for the future.
Cris Cyborg – My plans are to continue with the same seriousness as ever, to train a lot and to continue with my championship belt. In the near future, I intend to open my own Cyborg’s Chute Boxe Studio-Training Center.