Cris Cyborg, the featherweight world champion, is admired around the globe for her fearlessness as a blended martial arts (MMA) fighter, however the 35-year-old has fears about how body-image pressures have an effect on younger girls. The Brazilian is making ready to defend her Bellator title towards Australian Arlene Blencowe on Thursday evening on the Mohegan Solar Resort in Connecticut. “You see numerous women who aren’t consuming, [who] really feel like they should be skinny,” she instructed Telegraph Sport. “The media, Instagram — none of it’s actual. They photoshop all the things. It’s important to be pleased with who you’re, not with what others need you to be. I’ve had issues in my life after I was youthful however I like who I’m now. I handle my physique and I’m wholesome.” After 15 years within the sport, Cyborg says it’s only not too long ago that her career is just not given a second look. “I’ve been pleased with my physique, however individuals would have a look at you bizarre. That is ten years in the past. Particularly whenever you’d say you’re a fighter, it was at all times a response of ‘what?’ However now fighters are commonplace. “After I instructed my mum I needed to be a fighter she thought I might find yourself on the road. It was a special time. My mum didn’t prefer it at first, however as soon as she noticed it was an actual sport she now likes it.” Cyborg was the primary lady within the sport to assert the “grand slam” of titles in Bellator, Strikeforce, the UFC, and Invicta, the all-female battle league. She has usually blitzed via opponents, with 18 knockouts in her 22 victories. Her standing and maturity is mirrored in the way in which she carries herself, and her work away from the cage with charities and kids in Africa. There’s an aura about her. Not simply of destruction, however as an envoy for the game. “I feel you’ve gotten numerous various kinds of guys and women they usually determined for themselves which physique they like. I’ve at all times had this physique, I began coaching after I was 12 years previous,” she defined. “I feel an important factor is to really feel nice. “Should you carry a little bit extra weight and really feel nice then that’s you. Make your self pleased. Should you’re pleased with your self then it doesn’t matter what individuals say. “I feel girls on this sport have an athletic physique. I like that look and I feel all the ladies do. You’re in form. I don’t suppose there’s distinction between our our bodies and different athletes’.” Ladies’s MMA has exploded in recent times and Cyborg is browsing the crest of a wave which she helped to create. “I really feel so blessed to be combating at this second. After I began my profession there have been no fighters, no occasions. I at all times believed in it, although, that it will develop. Now you may see individuals love girls’s MMA. I do know it’ll develop and develop and I’m actually pleased to be a part of this story. Sure, I consider we get respect. It grows. As soon as we had the chance we confirmed up.” By dint of her success, Cyborg has grow to be a goal for each rising star, with Bellator having grown its 145lb roster into a robust line-up. It solely makes Cyborg extra formidable, extra decided. There has even been speak of an try and grow to be a girls’s boxing world champion. Katie Taylor, the Irish fighter who’s undisputed light-weight champion, has been touted as one doable opponent. It could be a seismic match-up. “It could be one other factor for my legacy to be a world champion in boxing and MMA,” Cyborg mentioned. “I need to present everybody you may obtain something with onerous work. It’s important to belief and have religion. For now, I’m not interested by Katie Taylor. I’m not specializing in it.” Have there been discussions with Eddie Hearn, Taylor’s promoter ? “We didn’t speak to him however perhaps Scott Coker did. I am going to let Audi Attar [her manager] resolve what’s subsequent. For positive, it’s my dream to do boxing. Katie Taylor subsequent could be nice, however I’ve my battle on Thursday.” “However everybody is aware of boxing is a dream for me.” Bellator 249 is reside on Sky Sports activities Essential Occasion from 3am on Friday morning.