Strikeforce bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey kept her unbelievable unbeaten streak intact on Saturday night in San Diego, submitting No. 1 contender Sarah Kaufman with an armbar less than a minute into their bout.
The victory increased her streak to nine armbar finishes in nine mixed martial arts fights (including her professional and amateur bouts) for the former Olympic bronze medalist Judoka. Of those nine victories, eight of them came inside the first minute of the fight.
As soon as the fight was over, the talk about a possible fight between Rousey and former Strikeforce 145-pound champion Cris Cyborg Santos hit a fever pitch. Even Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, who was asked about the hypothetical bout’s stature at Saturday’s post-fight press conference, said that, if it were to come together, it would be “one of the biggest fights in the history of mixed martial arts.”
It only took a matter of minutes, however, for Cyborg to throw talk of a fight with Rousey, and Cyborg’s own future with Strikeforce, into disarray.
She quickly took to her official Twitter account after the fight, according to Tatame reporter Guilherme Cruz, saying that she was awaiting her release from Zuffa since her weight class is no more. Cyborg apparently continued that she would look elsewhere for a promotion that has her 145-pound class, specifically mentioning Invicta FC in one tweet, although that tweet appears to have been deleted a short time later.
The timing of her outburst was particularly confounding because the Rousey fight had just ended, leading some of her Twitter followers to question whether or not she was ducking a fight with Rousey.
“Guys I have not changed my weight,” Cyborg responded. “I started where I am.”
Even if the fight with Rousey was never to come together because each fighter wished to remain in her respective weight class, Cyborg’s comments about Strikeforce no longer having a featherweight division for her to fight in seem to be without foundation.
There was, in fact, a women’s featherweight fight on Saturday night’s Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman fight card. Hiroko Yamanaka and Germaine de Randamie fought at 145 pounds in a preliminary bout.
Strikeforce officials were equally confused by Cyborg’s comments, particularly in her thinking that there would not be a featherweight division for her to come back to once her steroid-related suspension was completed.
“She must be misinformed,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told MMAWeekly.com’s Erik Fontanez. “I don’t understand why she’d be saying that since we just had a 145-pound fight on the card tonight.”
It’s not exactly clear what incited Cyborg to unleash on Twitter the way that she did. Rousey had just won her fight, setting up a potentially huge super fight between the two if they could agree on what weight to fight at. Having a 145-pound bout on Saturday night’s card and Strikeforce officials going on record backing the division erases any concern about a division for her to fight in upon her return, Rousey fight or no Rousey fight.
Perhaps it’s as simple as Cyborg feeling like she’s no longer wanted.
“I want to be respected as everyone wants to be,” Cyborg noted in one of her tweets.
She was the face of women’s MMA until her suspension. During her absence, the promotion, fans, and media have moved on to focus on the Ronda Rousey phenomenan. She’s being called out to face Rousey, even though that’s not even a possibility until after December, when she completes her suspension.
For now, however, Cris Cyborg remains a Strikeforce fighter, if one with an uncertain future. And we’re left to scratch our heads over her latest comments.
- Ronda Rousey