The rivalry between former Strikeforce women's champion Cris "Cyborg" Santos and current UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey doesn't seem to slow down despite the fact that they are in two different organizations with little hope of facing one another in at least the next year.
Still, it's hard to ignore that fire that burns between the two women as rarely can one of them go a single interview without the other's name coming up.
As Cyborg prepares for her debut in Invicta FC following more than a year away from the sport after testing positive for a banned substance in 2011, she's lasered in on the task at hand of getting her career back on track. That doesn't mean, however, that the desire to destroy Rousey is ever far from her mind.
The history between Cyborg and Rousey goes back to November 2011 when the former Olympic Judo medalist defeated Julia Budd at a Strikeforce Challengers show while competing at 145 pounds. At the time, Rousey said she was ready to drop down to bantamweight and challenge champion Miesha Tate, but Cyborg was already looking at her as a potential opponent at featherweight.
Following her win over Hiroko Yamanaka in Strikeforce almost exactly a month later, Cyborg reveals that she asked to face Rousey, but didn't get the answer she was expecting.
"I don't want to talk trash about somebody, I want to prove it inside the cage. When she was in my weight class she said 'I want to fight Cris Cyborg' and when I had my last fight against Hiroko (Yamanaka) I talked to Sean Shelby, the matchmaker at Strikeforce, and I said 'I want Ronda next.' He said 'no, she's not ready for you' and after that fight she's talking bad about me but you guys protected her," Santos revealed in an interview with Bleacher Report
"Because after my fight I told them I want to fight her and they said no she's not ready for you."
In Cyborg's opinion, Rousey was being protected and continues to live under the same shield of protection right now. The Brazilian isn't sure why a fighter that competed in the Olympics at 154 pounds, then fought MMA at 145 pounds, insists that it's Santos who drops down to bantamweight for their fight to finally happen.
"She fought at 154 (pounds) in Judo, and I think who is running? It's not me. I fight at 145, she fought at 145, who's running from this fight? Not me," said Cyborg. "People need to see the fact to see who's running."
Currently, Cyborg is about to embark on the first of a three-fight deal with Invicta FC with the goal being to win her fight next weekend and then move onto a featherweight title fight against fellow former Strikeforce champion Marloes Coenen.
If all goes well in her three fights, Santos is happy to circle back around and see if the fight with Rousey will happen at that point. Whether it's now, six months from now or a year in the making, Santos is more than confident that she will eventually get her hands on Rousey and all the talk won't matter inside the cage.
"I think this fight will happen, but when she's ready for this fight. Not when I want to fight her, when you guys think she's ready for this fight. I'll be ready," said Santos.
"I'm very excited for this fight because I don't need to talk nothing. Inside the cage nobody can say anything."
Damon Martin is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.