It’s no secret that the biggest women’s bantamweight fight the UFC could make is the long-awaited Ronda Rousey vs. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino title bout.
It may or may not beat the proposed Rousey vs. Gina Carano bout in overall pay-per-view (PPV) sales, but in terms of actual fighting, “Rowdy” vs. “Cyborg” is the one that hardcore fight fans look towards as the bout where Rousey could legitimately be in trouble for the first time in her unblemished MMA career.
The two champions have made their disdain for one another publicly known, and a war of words has been ongoing between them for years now. Justino, who is the reigning Invicta FC featherweight champion, has decided to cut down to bantamweight in order to face Rousey at some point down the road. From the look of things, Justino’s weight cut is going quite well for her December debut at Invicta FC 10.
However, speaking at a media scrum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Rousey said the weight cut wasn’t the real reason that “Cyborg” was avoiding a fight with her. According to Rousey, “Justino jumped ship when the UFC announced out-of-competition drug testing (courtesy of MMA Fighting):
“I would fight her, but 24 hours after the announcement of out-of-competition drug testing, she asked to be released from the UFC. I’m under contract with the UFC, I can’t leave. She can come back whenever she wants, I’m here.”
That’s not the first time we’ve heard Rousey say she’s waiting for “Cyborg” to come to her, and that appears to be the plan. But when she does, Rousey believes her best won’t be good enough. Rousey referenced Justino’s recent loss to Muay Thai fighter Jorina Baars at Lion Fight 14 in March.
“She was fighting, it was a while ago, and she just got dropped five times in a match. And really, to be honest, I haven’t been really too impressed with her actual skill set,” Rousey said. “It’s only her strength that she draws off. The mistakes that she makes technically are absolutely terrible and basic.
She doesn’t have any feeling in her punches, she pushes her punches. She can’t knock people out with one punch, she just overwhelms them. My pace, nobody can overwhelm me. And the way that she is on the ground, it’s absolute horrendous. And her distance is absolute horrendous. The only thing that she has is pace and power, and I have pace, precision and power.”
Rousey has some strong words for Justino, but they’re also cold, calculating, and precise in overall assessment of skills. Rousey knows that “Cyborg” has some advantages to her game, but believes those will be negated when she tries to make 135 pounds without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
At the end of the day, Rousey simply believes that all the steroids in the world won’t enable Justino to take her belt away because fundamentally, it shows a lack of confidence:
“I’m sure she’s trying to dope as long as possible and then come into the UFC. But it doesn’t matter. I grew up fighting in judo and I knew there were people out there doping, but I never used that as an excuse to do it. I just wanted to beat them despite of it. You know what, you can have every advantage in the world over me, you can have better funding, you can have a better program, be on all the drugs in the world, but I’m gonna be good enough to beat you despite of it.
The reason why people dope is because they lack self-confidence. The reason why she was using steroids is because that girl does not believe that the best that she has is good enough, and that will always be there in her mind. And you know what, she’s right. The best that she has isn’t good enough, even on drugs.”
Rousey has thrown some serious accusations at “Cyborg,” further fueling the fire between the two. We’ll soon see just how effectively Justino can make it down to 135 pounds.
If she does without issue and decimates one or two opponents, how long will it be before she’s signed on to the UFC for a blockbuster showdown with Rousey?