Ronda Rousey is no longer the UFC bantamweight champion, and hasn’t fought since her knockout loss to Holly Holm in November, but that doesn’t mean that Cris Cyborg isn’t interested in fighting her anymore.
The Invicta FC featherweight champion successfully debuted in the UFC in May, stopping Leslie Smith in 81 seconds in a 140-pound catchweight bout, and still hopes to meet "Rowdy" inside the Octagon.
"I think this fight has to happen," Cyborg told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. "I think Ronda (said) a lot of things about me, a lot of bad things. A lot of fans forget about, but I never forget about. I would like to fight her in the cage. I think we have a lot of things to talk in the cage, and not outside the cage. I hope she’s coming back. I want to fight soon. I don’t have time to wait."
And even though Rousey is no longer undefeated, Cyborg believes that this fight would be the biggest in women’s MMA history.
"I think it would be an amazing fight and all fans would see it," she said. "I think it would be the biggest fight ever. Me and Ronda Rousey. Everybody wanna watch."
After her win over Smith at UFC 198, Cyborg told the media she didn’t call out Rousey because she wanted to enjoy her moment. However, the Brazilian striker now admits that she thought that fighting at 140 pounds in the UFC was a one time thing.
Cyborg’s next move is still up in the air. It’s not set in stone yet if the Brazilian will defend the Invicta FC 145-pound title or cut back down to 140 pounds for a catchweight bout in the UFC. And has her team reached out to the UFC about the possibility of fighting Rousey in her return?
"This is something you don’t need to ask," Cyborg said. "They already know this is the biggest fight in women’s MMA. I think I don’t have to ask it. They know I don’t choose opponents. They already know."
It was rumored that Cyborg would be taking on Germaine de Randamie at UFC 201, but cutting down to 140 pounds again to compete on July 30 would be impossible for the Brazilian. Losing extra five pounds is hard for the Chute Boxe athlete, and she says "it has to be something special" to make sense.
"The biggest fights will happen now, Holly Holm (vs. Valentina Shevchenko) and Miesha Tate (vs. Amanda Nunes). I think, probably, I’ll fight that biggest fight," Cyborg said. "We have to see what happens. We have to see who wants to fight me. Miesha Tate said she wants to fight me at 140. Let’s see. A lot of people like to say but no one signs the contract. I’m ready. Who my fans want to watch, I’ll fight and I’m ready."
Cutting down to 140 pounds is no easy task. And even though Cyborg is open to doing it, she hopes that one day she has the chance to become a UFC featherweight champion.
"When you think about, I say man, I don’t want," Cyborg said of making 140 pounds again. "When you really think, I don’t want because it’s really hard, really stressful. I love training, I train a lot, but for 140 it’s worse. You have to run every day. I ran six miles in the morning, six miles at night, and train MMA and other arts, too. It’s a lot of work, a lot of work. … Man, it’s no easy. George Lockhart is very good. I think I need some more time between fights at 140. I think 140 all the time is not good for my body.
"I think I’m asking for this for a lot of years, for my division (in the UFC)," she continued. "They say they don’t have a lot of girls at 145. I would think they have a lot of girls. But they say it’s hard to make one division of 145 for now. They opened for me at 140. I’m open for big fights and it would be my dream to make my division in the UFC. It makes me sad that I don’t have my division, but they can make the biggest fights for all my fans. ESPN says I’m the number one pound for pound in women’s MMA, and I think if the UFC wants to invest in women’s MMA, I think I have to be in the UFC."