Photo credit: Sports Illustrated/AP
Cris "Cyborg" Santos said Monday she won't consider Ronda Rousey the world's best fighter as long as a Cyborg-Rousey superfight fails to materialize.
"I don't want to talk about her more, but I want to fight her...Maybe she's now happy because we won't fight soon," Santos said Monday on The MMA Hour broadcast, hosted by MMA reporter Ariel Helwani. "She has never proven she's the best in the world because she has not fought me."
Last week, Cyborg (10-1-1) signed with all-female promotion Invicta Fighting Championships. That move followed a wild news week for the Brazilian fighter and her manager, former UFC great Tito Ortiz, which saw Cyborg request and receive her release from the UFC before she ever took a fight. Cyborg requested the release despite the UFC allowing Cyborg to simultaneously sign with the UFC and compete for Invicta.
But there was apparently more to the story. Monday's interview followed in the wake of Ortiz telling Bleacher Report Sunday in an exclusive interview that the UFC's ultimate eight-fight offer was too much. Cyborg concurred with that thinking Monday afternoon.
"[The UFC] wants eight fights in my contract," Cyborg said. "I don't want eight fights at 135 pounds. I don't see anything after Ronda...I think it's better for me to do Invicta. Now I want only to think about my next fight."
In Sunday's Bleacher Report interview, Ortiz said recent comments from the UFC that Cyborg was becoming "irrelevant" provided additional motivation to work only with Invicta for the time being. Ortiz added, however, that he believed Cyborg-Rousey would "100 percent" happen, and that a 140-pound catchweight bout remained a possibility.
Cyborg is just about universally regarded as the top threat to the undefeated Rousey. Rousey, the face of women's MMA and the UFC's first-ever female belt-holder, makes her Octagon debut Saturday night against Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157.
Cyborg, who said Monday she will not attend UFC 157, denied feeling any resentment over being excluded from the first woman's fight in UFC history, and said she was hoping an exciting contest would continue to build public interest in women's MMA.
"UFC is an event, and it has one guy at the [top of] organization," Cyborg said, in apparent reference to UFC president Dana White. "He's doing whatever he wants to do...He's the one who will put the girls wherever he wants to put them. I feel good. I think all my fans know who is the best in the world...I like aggressive fights. I like two girls fighting. I hope the fans like the fight [on Saturday]."
Cyborg is slated to make her Invicta debut April 5 against Ediane Gomes.