Fans were overcome with excitement when it was announced that Cris Cyborg would defend her UFC women's featherweight title against Holly Holm at UFC 219. Cyborg's coach, Jason Parillo, was just relieved.
Speaking to Fightful's James Lynch, Parillo discussed the featherweight title showdown between Cyborg and Holm saying, "This is a fight that we've been waiting for, for years."
While Parillo feels that Cyborg is the greatest female fighter of all-time, he believes that the current champion has never gotten a big fight against a big name, on the biggest stage. Headlining a pay-per-view against the former women's bantamweight champion, on the final UFC show of the year, is that fight for Cyborg.
Parillo's biggest relief is that the fight is taking place at 145 pounds.
"That's everything for me. She'll attest to this, even at 140, I was a big no on it," said Parillo. "Of course, I was still going to support her and make sure she's alright regardless. She was successful (at 140). Do I think she was fighting on all cylinders at that weight? No. She still won in dominant fashion, but it wasn't the Cris Cyborg that I know."
With the fight a month away, Cyborg is well into her camp. Parillo noted that, "she trains all day long. She gets up and runs every morning, whether she has a fight or not. It's just who she is and what she does."
Even though the fight wasn't made official until mid-November, the bout was rumored almost immediately after Cyborg defeated Tonya Evinger at UFC 214 in July to capture the 145-pound title.
"We've had time to think about Holly. It's always been in the back of our minds and it's been part of our training for months now, as opposed to the last six weeks. In all reality, if there was a change of opponent (prior to the bout being made official), it would have been easier to make that adjustment, as opposed to adjusting to, 'Oh, now we're fighting Holly Holm.' We're ready for one of the best, if not the best out there," said Parillo.
The longtime striking coach commentated that part of his job is to keep her focused on the bout and not let outside distractions seep in. There has been a lot of talk about drug testing prior to the fight, due to Cyborg's positive test in the past.
Parillo isn't concerned about the outside noise, saying, "She knows that she's been hunting for her whole life. She got up for Tonya Evinger like she was fighting Holly Holm or Ronda Rousey. Now, she actually is fighting Holly Holm. Her focus is 100 percent for that. It's keeping her relaxed, as well. Sometimes, when something is so important to you, you start thinking too much. You start getting beside yourself and sometimes that will be to your disadvantage. That's something Holly will try to prey on. Holly is a very intelligent fighter and will try to prey on Cris' emotions. That's really her best shot.
"For me, as a coach, that's really where we're involved. We gotta have her mind right for that fight. She's not going to fall into any traps."
While Parillo is not looking past Holm, he did mention that Megan Anderson "makes the most sense" as Cyborg's opponent, if she is victorious on Dec. 30.
Parillo also gave an update on his client Michael Bisping, who is said to be "doing well" following his first round KO loss to Kelvin Gastelum.
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