UFC women's featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino recently stepped up to help save the UFC 222 fight card from being downgraded to a UFC Fight Night event. But not to worry, she still intends to meet bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in a frequently talked about showdown in July.
UFC 222 was originally slated top pit men's featherweight titleholder Max Holloway against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. It was the second time the UFC tried to match the two.
Edgar had to withdraw from their planned UFC 218 match-up when he suffered a fractured orbital bone in training. Holloway was the one that had to pull out of the fight this time, as he suffered an ankle injury.
Edgar still wanted to fight, and quickly agreed to put his shot at the title on the line in a contender bout with Brian Ortega, but that fight didn't carry the necessary impact to headline a pay-per-view event.
UFC officials tried various options, including a rematch between men's bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and former titleholder Cody Garbrandt, but they couldn't get them to come together. Just when it appeared that all available options might be off the table, Cyborg stepped up and agreed to fight former Invicta FC bantamweight champion Yana Kunitskaya.
Despite stepping in to save UFC 222 on March 3, Cyborg insists that she is still willing to fight Nunes in July.
“Guys, Max Holloway got hurt and UFC 222 was in need of help. I am just doing my job. I'm always training… why not? See at UFC 222. I did this for the team,” she wrote in an Instagram story.
“Amanda, don't worry, you have girls coming for you, like Cat Zingano and Ketlen Vieira, and our fight is still on the table for July.”
There had been talks of Cyborg and Nunes in a champion vs. champion superfight as part of the UFC 226 fight card that already features UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic defending against light heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier in the event's headlining bout on July 7 in Las Vegas.
UFC 226 caps the promotion's 2018 edition of International Fight Week, it's biggest annual event.
If Cyborg defeats Kunitskaya on March 3, expect her to try and keep the fight with Nunes together for the big event in July.