Ronda Rousey vs. 'Cyborg' Justino: Debating Women's GOAT

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2014

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Ronda Rousey can continue to build her impressive legacy with another win at UFC 170. It would make a strong case for her being the greatest female fighter of all-time.

When discussing who is the greatest of all-time in women's MMA it comes down to three names: Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino”, Megumi Fujii and Ronda Rousey.

Fujii is now retired, and due to varying factors she is all but forgotten in this discussion, but she should not be. However, as both Justino and Rousey are active fighters, they are continuing to build on their resume and will surpass her if they have not already.

Who is in the best position to have that moniker bestowed upon them?

Cyborg is 12-1 with one no contest. Her lone defeat came in her professional debut to Erica Paes via a kneebar. Since that time she has been one of the dominant figures in women's MMA.

Rousey has been dominant since the day she stepped into the cage or ring. All of her amateur and professional bouts have ended via her patented armbar. Her professional record is currently at an unblemished 8-0.

One of the biggest knocks on Cyborg's MMA record is that she is fighting at 145 pounds, which would not be an issue if the featherweight class was a division with a wealth of talent. That is not the case.

The majority of Cyborg's legacy has been built over thrashing fighters who are fighting above their weight class. They were fed to a lion, and they got treated like lambs who were led to the slaughter.

That is not to say her opposition was not talented. They were, but they were simply not strong enough to compete with Cyborg. Size does matter in MMA. Vanessa Porto, Shayna Baszler, Hitomi Akano, Jan Finney and others were not big enough to be a threat to Justino.

Cyborg also has the red flag of testing positive for an anabolic steroid, a big hit to the resume she was building. The questions and rumors that followed her were finally given validation, and it is something she is still struggling to recover from today.

That is not a knock Rousey has against her. In fact, she started her career fighting larger women like Ediane Gomes. She finished her in 25 seconds.

Since Rousey's drop to bantamweight, she has faced consistently credible competition. There were no scrubs placed opposite her in the cage to pad her record. There were no sacrificial fighters found to simply give her a fight. No, Rousey fought some of the best women in the division and won with ease.

That is the true difference between Rousey and Justino: the level of competition.

Cyborg's skills and strength are undeniable. She is one of the best to ever grace the sport, but when she has not consistently fought opposition with a real threat to defeat her it hurts her legacy. It puts a nice rosy tint to her record that can be easily seen through.

Rousey now has the opportunities to add another top-five female fighter, and one who won an Olympic silver medal, to her list on Saturday. Justino is still waiting for an opponent to step up for her next fight.

At this juncture we are splitting hairs between them, but Rousey's resume is becoming more impressive by the day. A win over Sara McMann should cement her in that top spot. UFC 170 is an important bout for Rousey's legacy as the greatest of all time.