While common sense told Cristiane “Cybrg” Santos to finish up her studies in Brazil to pursue a career in physical education, her famed trainer, Rafael Cordeiro of the Chute Boxe Academy, told her otherwise. Why bother wasting your time on all of that college stuff, when you should be busting heads for a living? That was Cordeiro’s take on things, and Santos is thanking him for the advice in the present day as the feared knockout specialist currently sits on the top of the female mixed martial arts mountain as the reigning Strikeforce women’s 145 pound champion.
“I was in college, Physics Education, and I trained, but Master Rafael (Cordeiro) said that he thought it was better if I stopped the fight because the top training of Chute Boxe was in the morning and I could only train in the afternoon or in the night,” explained Cyborg in a conversation with Tatame.com. “He said, “I think it’s better if you stop this college… If you graduate you’ll teach, but on Muay Thai you can teach too and you’ll dedicate more“. I stopped the college, my mom wanted to kill me, but I followed a dream and thank God I was happy.”
Having spent the majority of her years in her native country of Brazil, Cristiane has recently relocated to sunny California, U.S.A., and currently trains with her husband, Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, alongside a certain former UFC champion known as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy”.
“For now we’re here in Big Bear, training with Tito Ortiz, who’s preparing to fight with Forrest Griffin,” said Santos. “We’re supporting, with training of Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai, and they’re supporting us too.”
Along with Cristiane’s recent trip stateside has come the language barrier that has troubled so many fighters from foreign soil in their pursuit to find mainstream success in the United States; However, according to Cyborg, it’s a challenge she’s looks forward to overcoming.
“I can handle [talking] with the guys up here, I talk with everyone,” explained Santos. “I understand a little, but I’m learning more. On the next fight I’ll risk more, the American audience likes that.
“Here is the place to stay, easier to find sponsorship… I miss my family, but I like to live here.”
When asked if she had aspirations to fight in the UFC at some point in her career, Cyborg was quite forthcoming, stating, “I imagine myself there… I’m happy on Strikeforce, but would be one more open door. Who knows in the future…”
Cristiane is currently expected to face off with Marloes Coenen as her next opponent, alongside her husband Evangelista, who is also expected to appear on the same card. Rumors place the two competing at “Strikeforce: Evolution”, expected for January 30 in Miami, Florida.