Cris Cyborg is ready for the first step toward bantamweight and Ronda Rousey.
Cyborg will compete at a 140-pound catchweight at the next Invicta event in November, Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp announced Saturday night in the press conference following Invicta FC 14 in Kansas City. No date or city was announced, nor is there an opponent set.
A fight between Cyborg and Rousey has been anticipated for years and it'll be one of the biggest spectacles in UFC history. Cyborg, the Invicta FC women's featherweight champion, has never made 135 pounds and walks around near 170.
The UFC has stipulated that it will not bring Cyborg in for a Rousey megabout unless she drops down to 135 for a title encounter. Rousey and Cyborg are far and away the top women's fighters in MMA and have exchanged trash talk since they were both in Strikeforce years ago.
Cyborg (14-1, 1 NC), whose real name is Cristiane Justino, has not lost a fight since her pro debut in 2005. She does have a no contest on her record from a failed drug test for steroids in 2011. Rousey has used that in the past as the reason why she believes Justino could make the weight -- if she can make 145 on steroids, why not 135 without them?
The game plan for the UFC has been to see if Cyborg can make the weight in Invicta first and then she would be brought in for a Rousey title fight. The first step is this next fight at 140. Then there could be another one for Invicta at 135.
The UFC and Invicta have a working relationship. Invicta events air on UFC's digital network, Fight Pass, and Cyborg's contract is actually with UFC parent company Zuffa.
Knapp also announced Saturday that strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza will defend her title against Alexa Grasso at Invicta FC 15 in November. That bout was supposed to happen at Invicta 14 before Grasso was injured.