Ronda Rousey’s shocking loss to Holly Holm drastically changed the landscape of the women’s bantamweight division in the UFC. It wasn’t just the fact that the undefeated Rousey was thoroughly dominated by a massive underdog, it was the notion that arguably MMA’s biggest star crashed and burned when the lights burned the brightest.
And now that the dust has settled, we’re left wondering, “What’s next?” It appears that a rematch with Holm will likely be the next order of action. But what has since evaporated was the proposed megafight between Rousey and Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino that has been teased for the past few years as the biggest fight that can possibly be made in MMA.
While Rousey takes some much-needed time off before a rematch with Holm, Cyborg has since been booked to headline Invicta FC 15 on Jan. 16 with a defense of her 145-pound title against Russian-born grappler Daria Ibragimova.
What’s interesting about this is that Cyborg was rumored to be cutting weight in an effort to face Rousey at the bantamweight weight limit of 135 pounds. Considering her size, and the fact that she has never fought below featherweight, the weight difference was perceived to be a massive hurdle that would prevent the fight from taking place. With the UFC not having a women’s featherweight division, the only way the fight would be able to happen would be in Rousey’s weight class.
With that being said, Cyborg’s next Invicta fight was supposed to be at a catchweight of 140 pounds with hopes of eventually making it down to the bantamweight division to hypothetically face Rousey at UFC 200. But with Rousey no longer champion, it appears that Cyborg has opted to move on with her career and addressed her future with Yahoo Sports.
“Do I still want to fight Ronda? Of course!” Cyborg said. “However, if she wants to be the best she needs to beat the best, and that's me at my best, not a depleted mirror of myself - which is what she is hoping for by forcing me to 135.”
Cyborg said that she “owes it to her division” to defend her Invicta featherweight title in the aftermath of Rousey’s loss but hasn’t completely ruled out a future fight with Rousey. However, if it were to take place, it would have to be on Cyborg’s terms.
“I hope [a fight with Rousey happens] for the fans. But if she was running from me before the loss, imagine how much faster she will be running from me now,” Cyborg said. “I'm not chasing her anymore. After all, didn't she say ‘You come to the champ?’ I have been a world champion for 10 years!”
However, Rousey isn’t the only UFC fighter that Cyborg has her eye on. You can now add Holly Holm to Cyborg’s wish list. And the Brazilian believes that a fight with the new bantamweight champion will be much easier to make happen.
“I respect Holly because Holly is different than Ronda,” she said. “Holly is a true fighter that wants to fight the best and because of that I believe she would fight me at 145 or meet me at 140.”
Although Cyborg maintains that she is interested in making her UFC debut one day, UFC president Dana White has made it clear that he has no plans of making a catchweight fight to cater to Cyborg’s demands. But perhaps White would make an exception if Holm is adamant in making that fight happen.
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