Dana White believes Cris Cyborg’s next opponent has to be Amanda Nunes.
After Cris Cyborg demolished Yana Kunitskaya inside a round at UFC 222, the thoughts of most turned to what lies ahead for the fearsome UFC featherweight champion. According to company president Dana White, that could well be a clash with bantamweight champion – and fellow Brazillian – Amanda Nunes.
Cyborg (20-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) floored her challenger several times in the main event of Saturday’s card, before securing a victory via ground and pound at 3:25 of the opening round, making a second successful defence of her championship. The Brazilian, 32, had stepped in to headline the card after an injury to Max Holloway scuppered his scheduled fight with Frankie Edgar, but she was apparently undeterred by the short notice.
“I train all the time,” said Cyborg immediately after the fight. “This was ‘Chute Box’ style. Three weeks’ notice. Anytime, anywhere, anybody,” she stated.
That “anybody” looks set to be 135lb ruler Nunes and Cyborg wasted little time in confirming that she would be open to the bout, which had previously been rumoured for July’s UFC 226 event in Las Vegas.
“For Brazil, it’s sad,” said Cyborg. “But she called me out…When you call Cyborg out, I have to handle it,” she stated. A clash between the two certainly has an influential supporter in Dana White.
“The fight to make is her and Nunes,” White stated during the post-fight press conference for the card. “She (Cyborg) wants the fight, Nunes wants the fight, I want the fight, and I’m sure the fans want the fight.”
Bantamweight champion Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC) had been targeted for a May title defence against Raquel Pennington at UFC 224 in Rio De Janeiro, but that fight is seemingly off the table for now.
“It could be in Rio,” suggested White of a fight between Cyborg and Nunes. “Once the adrenaline goes down, she (Cyborg) needs to get checked out. I think her versus Amanda needs to happen.”
It is worthy of note that any fight between the two would likely need to take place at the featherweight limit of 145lb, meaning that only Cyborg’s title would be at stake. The promotion tried to convince Cyborg to make the bantamweight limit of 135lb on numerous occasions several years ago in order to facilitate a showdown with then-champion Ronda Rousey. Cyborg maintained then that it was impossible for her to safely make the weight and, given that a bout with Nunes would seem to be less lucrative than a meeting with Rousey, it seems doubtful that this stance will change.