Ever since Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino ruled the Strikeforce women’s featherweight division and Ronda Rousey won the women’s bantamweight belt from Miesha Tate, the two have been inked in an at-times heated back-and-forth battle of words that has never even come close to a legitimate shot at an actual super fight.
The onus was apparently on ‘Cyborg’ to somehow cut down to Rousey’s fighting weight limit of 135 pounds, something that was ultimately too taxing on her body. Then the prospect dissipated altogether when Rousey shockingly lost her title to Holly Holm at November 2015’s UFC 193, putting a swift finish to all of the speculation that wasn’t going anywhere anyway.
While that has considerably hurt ‘Cyborg’s’ chances at a UFC fight, her manager George Prajin recently told ESPN that while all the focus was on Rousey last year, 2016 is all about Justino on her own:
“”It seems like last year, for us, was about Ronda Rousey,” Prajin said. “”This year is about Cris Cyborg. She wants to concentrate on showing she’s the best in the world on her own, not standing in someone else’s shadow.”
But even though the spotlight could shine on ‘Cyborg’ this year, Prajin believes it’ll have to be in Invicta, as a UFC fight with Holm, whom he asserted is running out of opponents after she face Miesha Tate at March’s UFC 196 and rematches Rousey at some point, at an agreed-upon catchweight is simply a longshot at this point:
“Our only hope is a Hail Mary — a longshot,” Prajin said. “It’s the UFC seeing value in a Holly Holm vs. Cyborg catchweight fight. They have a division to protect. If Holly fights Cris at UFC 200 and gets smashed, it lowers her value as a champion. I’m sure they don’t want to do that.
“We still feel Cris is the only money fight out there for Holly besides a Rousey rematch. If Holly beats Miesha Tate [at UFC 196 on March 5] and then Ronda decides she doesn’t want to fight or loses to Holly again, the only fight that would make sense for Holly would be Cris.
“But I understand the UFC’s position right now. We can’t tell them how to run their business. It is what it is.”
The words raise an interesting conundrum for the UFC, as MMA fans would most likely not want to see Holm run over the rest of the relatively shallow UFC women’s bantamweight division is she were to get past Tate and Rousey. Yet losing in a one-sided bout to ‘Cyborg’ would take away most of her star power, so even though it would be a huge fight, it most likely won’t happen at UFC 200.
Overall, the UFC doesn’t have a 145-pound division, and they probably aren’t going to create one for a known steroid user in Justino, who is running through 145-pound females that few MMA fans have ever heard of in Invicta. Should they sign ‘Cyborg’ to fight Holm, or is the Brazilian bruiser simply becoming more trouble than she’s actually worth after all?