Cris Cyborg Wants Featherweight Contender Rather Than Super Fight Against Amanda Nunes
Just hours after UFC president Dana White announced that he was moving towards booking a matchup between women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg and women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, the potential fight has already encountered a problem.
On Thursday, Cyborg posted a lengthy response on her website explaining why she’s not interested in facing Nunes next and would rather take on a top contender at 145 pounds instead.
According to Cyborg, the only way to truly establish a women’s featherweight division is for the champion to face contenders in her weight class rather than a long line of bloated 135-pound fighters moving up in weight to face her.
Thus far in her two title fights in the UFC, Cyborg has faced former Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger and former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm — with both fighters moving up to 145 pounds to accept the challenge.
“Having re-established myself as the world champion at 145 pounds I feel it is my obligation to fight the No. 1 contender at 145 pounds in my next fight,” Cyborg wrote. “I have fought four consecutive fights against girls who have come up from 135 pounds to fight me, because they were ” super fights” for the fans. Besides Lina Lansburg (I fought her at 140) none of these girls had been fighting at featherweight.
“As a world champion it is important that you face the No. 1 contender. That is what makes it sport and not entertainment, otherwise what are the girls fighting at 145 pounds training to work towards if they know they will never be given a title shot even if they become the best in the world? I have a responsibility to the sport to ensure that when I retire the 145-pound division continues to exist, and it is because of that I want my next fight to be against a contender from the featherweight division that has fought at 145 pounds within the last year.”
Cyborg had said earlier in the week that she was offered a matchup against former Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson at UFC 221 in Australia. Anderson later refuted that claim saying that she had been offered no such fight although she hoped to face Cyborg at some point in 2018.
Anderson is the only other legitimate featherweight on the UFC roster after she was signed from Invicta FC to face Cyborg last July until she was knocked out of their fight due to personal reasons.
It appears the UFC had also moved on from the fight between Cyborg and Anderson when the opportunity came to book Nunes in the bout instead. Nunes has torn through the women’s bantamweight division recently with wins over Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey and Valentina Shevchenko and right now she doesn’t have any current contenders ready to face her with top ranked opponent Raquel Pennington still recovering from a broken leg.
Based on the timing it seemed like the perfect storm for Nunes to move up to featherweight where she started her fight career and challenge Cyborg in a champion versus champion showdown later this year.
Instead, Cyborg suggests that the UFC seek out 7-2 featherweight Pam Sorensen, who has gone 2-1 in her past three fights as a featherweight, as a potential opponent for her next if Anderson isn’t ready to go in the near future.
“If Megan Anderson is not ready to fight, then the next available contender Pam Sorensen deserves the opportunity,” Cyborg said. “I can continue giving fans super fights, however in order for this division to grow it is my responsibility to respect the work of all the women fighting at 145 pounds and give the top girls a chance at the title once they have earned it.
“If Amanda Nunes truly wants an opportunity at the 145 pound belt, a win against any ranked contender in that division would help establish her back in a weight class she left before fighting me.”