Ronda Rousey vs. 'Cyborg' Justino: Why It Might Happen but Probably Won't

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2014

Feb 22, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Ronda Rousey prepares to begin a women's bantamweight championship defense against Sara McMann during the main event of UFC 170 at Mandalay Bay.  Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Ronda Rousey is unofficially the best women's MMA fighter on the planet.  Ironically, so is Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino (or Santos, whichever you prefer).

So why not pit the two against each other and see which fighter leaves the cage victorious?

It would be an ultimate matchup for any fight fan who is bent on finally seeing a superfight.  Like LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant or Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady, Rousey vs. Justino would deliver beyond belief.

Since Rousey's professional debut in 2011, the two have been destined to collide. What better time than now to bring in a world-class champion to challenge a world-class champion?

Honestly, on the heels of Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre going bye-bye for an extended period of time, the UFC should cherish a bantamweight showdown like this one.

The only problem? Well, there are four of them.

First off, Justino doesn't fight at bantamweight. She has fought her entire 14-fight career as a featherweight and is one of the biggest competitors at that weight.

However, Cyborg recently claimed that she plans to make a move to 135 and "retire" Rousey by the end of the year. That's very optimistic of her, considering a potential weight cut could affect her health more than anything, but it's something that would have to work itself out before the UFC would ever sign her.

Cyborg's Recent Victories
Marloes Coenen @ Invicta FC 6 (2013)Round 44:02TKO
Fiona Muxlow @ Invicta FC 5 (2013)Round 13:46TKO
Jan Finney @ Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum (2010)Round 22:56KO
Gina Carano @ Strikeforce: Carano vs Cyborg (2009)Round 14:59TKO

Second, who's to say the weight cut wouldn't affect her performance and ultimately cost her a victory in her upcoming fights? Nobody is safe in this sport, and the 28-year-old would have to rack off at least two victories at bantamweight before she could leapfrog top divisional contenders like Cat Zingano, Alexis Davis, Amanda Nunes, Sarah Kaufman and Jessica Eye.

But even more than all that, the most difficult problem is the initial contract that Justino and the UFC would have to come to terms with.

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

As the second biggest name in women's MMA, Cyborg would ask for a boatload of money. She knows how big a championship rivalry with Rousey would be, so it's understandable why she might demand a ton of cash.

Being the hard-nosed, gritty businessmen they are, Zuffa's suits aren't going to be pushed around by a fighter who thinks she has leverage. Just look at Gilbert Melendez and his inability to land the contract he wants.

In any case, Rousey vs. Justino is a fight that everybody wants to see. Despite the skepticism and obstacles, the UFC always seems to put on the fights that garner the most attention and quickest means of profit.

The fourth problem is Zingano. Underestimating her ability to dethrone Rousey and take away a potential superstar matchup with Justino would be ill-advised. That's the last thing anybody should do because Zingano is as world class as they come, so looking past her could be the biggest mistake Rousey could ever make.

However, assuming Rousey and Cyborg can continue their winning ways as the UFC's end-of-the-year December pay-per-view draws near, there's every reason to believe that this fight might happen.

A lot of things just need to fall into place, and we all know that's half the battle, especially in an unpredictable sport like MMA.

Stay tuned for more coverage as Justino starts her journey at bantamweight and Rousey aims to defend her title later this summer.


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