After women's featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino defended her title for the first time against Holly Holm at UFC 219 in December, she stated that she'd be willing to face fellow Brazilian Amanda Nunes next, but would rather face someone already in her weight class. Ideally, she wanted a match-up with Megan Anderson at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia, in February.
In an interview with Yahoo! Sports on Jan. 4, UFC president Dana White stated that Cyborg would face the bantamweight champion Nunes next. Cyborg responded the same day on her website reiterating that she wants to face a true featherweight next.
“As a World Champion it is important that you face the No. 1 contender. That is what makes it sport and not entertainment, otherwise what are the girls fighting at 145 pounds training to work towards if they know they will never be given a title shot, even if they become the best in the world? I have a responsibility to the sport to ensure that when I retire, the 145-pound division continues to exist, and it is because of that I want my next fight to be against a contender from the featherweight division that has fought at 145 pounds within the last year,” she wrote.
Following Sunday's UFC Fight Night 124 in St. Louis, White again said that he plans on booking the two champions against each other and pointed out that Nunes used to be a 145-pound fighter.
“If there were more girls in the 145 division, I’d be doing it. At the end of the day, people want to see tough fights and I just gave Cyborg probably her toughest fight in MMA,” he said.
“Originally (Amanda Nunes) was a 145-pound fighter. She was brought into Strikeforce to fight Cyborg. It’s just happening a little later than everybody had planned. Amanda’s ready and that’s the fight everybody wants to see.”