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30th Mar 2016

Cris ‘Cyborg’ reveals how Conor McGregor helped her made her UFC debut

Kevin McGillicuddy

Conor McGregor doesn’t just open chequebooks.

It turns out ‘The Notorious’ also opens doors for fighters into the money pit of the UFC.

The Irishman tried to be the first man ever to claim two different weight belts within the UFC, but ultimately came up short.

His plan to face Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight crown came to nothing, and he was beaten by Nate Diaz in a hastily arranged welterweight contest.

But at least one UFC debutant is thankful the Irishman blew open the doors of the weight-obsessed UFC to allow her to compete later this year.

It was confirmed at the weekend that Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino would be making her UFC debut this summer at 140lbs when she faces Leslie Smith.

Cyborg is normally a featherweight but is being allowed fight at the catch-all weight before making the step down to bantamweight.

Cyborg UFC

Cyborg is only now part of the UFC promotion because of the unique fight being set-up for her, and she is thankful for Conor McGregor’s influence.

The Invicta featherweight champion told Fox Sports that the Irishman’s decision to move up and down weights helped persuade the UFC to hand her a debut fight this May.

“I think McGregor opened the door for this. He’s fighting at different weights. I think he opened the door to make this fight happen. There you go. I’m really happy for the opportunity”

“I think when you clean your division and you don’t have any more opponents or you want challenges, it’s OK to go up or you can try to go down. All the fighters go up, but now I have to go down. If you can go up or go down to make a big challenge for the fans, it’s good for everyone.”