Ronda Rousey vs Cris Cyborg would undoubtedly have been the biggest fight in the history of women’s MMA, but with arguments around weight causing delays time after time and the eventual devastating loss Rousey suffered at the hands of Holly Holm, it proved to be nothing more than a pipe dream for fans of the sport.
But, UFC president Dana White remains optimistic that the two will face off one day.
When Cyborg signed with the UFC in February of 2015, many believed that it was only a matter of time before the eagerly anticipated fight with Rousey was announced. Then came stipulations of weight, with White claiming Cyborg must first fight at 135 pounds for Invicta to secure her date with the women’s bantamweight champion.
No easy task for a woman who naturally weighs upwards of 170 pounds, but a straightforward one at that. Cyborg now had a clear path towards her goals, make 135 pounds and win, and the Rousey fight was hers. Simple, right? Enter Holly Holm.
With the UFC seemingly fed up of waiting on Cyborg to make bantamweight and eager to cash in on the Rousey hype train while it was still in full swing, they decided to book a fight with former boxing star Holly Holm, taking full advantage of Rousey’s popularity and in the process buying a bit of time for the Brazilian to make the desired weight.
What followed is sure to have left a sour taste in the mouth of White and the UFC brass as their golden girl was sent crashing to the canvas in the second round after being dominated decisively.
With that defeat Rousey’s air of invincibility had seemingly vanished, along with any hope of the super-fight between her and Cyborg and the enormous pay day the UFC hoped it would bring in.
With both Cyborg and the UFC seemingly resigned to the fact she will never make 135, her future with the promotion is likely to consist of a host of catch-weight bouts at 140 pounds. Despite this, White is still optimistic that Rousey and Cyborg will one day meet in the UFC’s octagon.
“I think in a perfect world, what everybody would love to see is Ronda vs Cyborg, so everybody is waiting — I’m sure Cyborg is, too — is the return of Ronda Rousey.
“When she does return, I’m sure [Rousey is] gonna want to fight for the title, probably defend it and then maybe fight Cyborg. I don’t know. We’ll see how this thing plays out.”
With White adamant that Rousey will indeed return, it is now up to Cyborg to continue her dominant win streak this Saturday night in Brazil in an attempt to rekindle any hope of a super-fight between two of women’s MMA’s most polarising figures.
Fionnán Rowan, Pundit Arena