The women’s featherweight champion of the world made a rather bizarre admission during a recent appearance on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.
It might not have been long since the UFC announced their plan to establish a women’s 145lb weight-class for their roster but despite the fact that the champ Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino managed to bring in some pretty decent numbers at UFC 219, it really does seem as though the division is doomed to failure.
Cyborg’s victory over Holly Holm managed to come in as the third most bought pay-per-view of 2017 and while talk of potential super-fight with her fellow Brazilian Amanda Nunes was rampant in the aftermath of December 30’s showdown, it would appear as though she will struggle to find suitable opponents for the rest of the year.
The problem with the sheer dominance that Justino has been able to impose on virtually all of her opponents in recent times is that it has been getting progressively more difficult to find worthy adversaries to take her on – something that often leads to physically-outmatched bantamweights getting the call.
In truth, it’s not her fault that the gap between her and the rest of those around her weight is so large but following Dana White’s rather public disinterest in the division and its prospects, Cyborg announced that she intends on leaving the promotion after her contract runs out to make a move to Bellator MMA, where she feels proper attention is being paid to the featherweight division.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on this week’s edition of the MMA Hour, Justino had this to say:
“The belt, 145 pounds, one year they have the belt. But you don’t see any girls fighting at 145 pounds in the division. Just to see girls fight for the belt, 145. They know I want to do this for me, they say ‘we don’t have the girls.’ They have girls. Bellator [is] signing girls 145 pounds every week.
“Every week girls are going to sign with Bellator. Bellator make my division very strong. Going to be big division, my division, in Bellator. This make me sad because I’m in the UFC, but I don’t have all the girls to fight. I can do superfight, but my goal is to make the division grow. I have three fights left, and then I’m going to be where I have to be.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena