Don’t be surprised if the often talked about super fight between Ronda Rousey and Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino ends up as another disappointing pipe dream in a long line of potential UFC blockbusters.
Initially, a difference in weight was the only hurdle keeping the long-awaited grudge match from happening. It was thought that Cyborg would never be able to make the 135-pound mark without putting her health at serious risk.
She constantly asked Rousey to meet her at 140-pounds for a catch weight bout, but the UFC women’s bantamweight champ wasn’t willing to tack on an extra five pounds to solidify the super fight. Even UFC President Dana White scoffed at the idea of doing a catch weight bout.
With no 145-pound division currently implemented in the UFC, it made little sense for White to risk his champion losing to an outsider.
It wasn’t until Friday’s edition of Inside MMA (h/t MMAFighting.com) that the excitement level for the potential super fight soared once again. In a prepared statement, Cyborg explained that she could make 135-pounds, but her doctor suggested she shouldn’t make a career at that weight.
She announced that she would be dropping to bantamweight in the summer to challenge for the Invicta title. After taking the title, Cyborg vowed that a move to the UFC and a super fight with Rousey would be next on her itinerary:
Now I know critics will say ‘I thought you said you would die if you made 135.’ All I’m promising is that I will give 100 percent to try to get to 135 to make this plan happen. If I do, I will still listen to my doctor’s advice and fight no more than three times at 135: first to win the Invicta belt, the second time to kick your ass and the third time to kick your ass again so that the world can see it wasn’t luck. You can even have me tested every week up to the fight. That way you will not have an excuse after I kick your ass.
Unfortunately, Cyborg’s willingness to meet Rousey at 135-pounds does little to help the chances of this fight actually coming to fruition.
The UFC is still without a 145-pound women’s division, which means Cyborg’s time in the promotion would be short-lived. During the UFC 170 post-fight press conference, White stated that Cyborg would have to win a couple of fights at 135-pounds in the UFC before getting an opportunity to challenge Rousey for the title.
Let’s say Cyborg comes in and dominates Rousey in the title fight and the rematch. According to her statement on Inside MMA, she would then return to the featherweight division, which would mean a one way ticket back to Invicta.
Why should the UFC risk arguably its biggest draw against someone who probably won’t even be with the promotion after winning the title?
It’s simply not good business for the UFC or Rousey, who has obviously taken it down a notch in calling out Cyborg. People will undoubtedly attack the UFC for “protecting Rousey” from a fighter many believe to truly be the best in the world, and to a certain extent, they are absolutely correct.
With Georges St-Pierre on an indefinite vacation and Anderson Silva sidelined with a broken leg, Rousey is now arguably the biggest star in the UFC.
One doesn’t simply throw a golden ticket into a shark tank.