There’s a possibility, Cyborg seemed to intimate Thursday at UFC 214 open workouts at UFC Gym.
“We can talk, I never met her before,” Cyborg said. “But I think she did great things for women’s MMA. She said a lot of things about me, but I think she used that time for growing her. I think she used it like a business. I think it’s nothing personal, because I never met her. We don’t know each other. Nothing. I don’t have anything against her.”
Rousey and Cyborg had one of the more heated rivalries in MMA for years, but it has subsided recently, especially in Rousey’s absence from the sport. Rousey went as far as once calling Cyborg “an it,” because of her past steroid use. Cyborg slammed Rousey for putting a pillow over her head in the Los Angeles airport after her knockout loss to Holly Holm in 2015.
The two went back and forth and both made ugly comments about each other, going back to their days in Strikeforce. Many fans and pundits thought a fight between the two best female fighters in the world would one day happen, but it never did and probably never will. Cyborg cannot make women’s bantamweight, Rousey’s division in the UFC, in a healthy manner and Rousey will likely never fight again. Even if Rousey did, who knows if she’d go to 145 or 140 for a Cyborg fight after two straight knockout losses.
For a time, Rousey vs. Cyborg was the biggest fight the UFC could put on. But even White has acknowledged publicly that Rousey will likely retire after a first-round KO loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December.
Rousey is the former Strikeforce and UFC women’s bantamweight, who has successfully crossed over to Hollywood with multiple movie and television roles. “Rowdy” was once the biggest name in MMA history and the highest paid fighter in the UFC. Since her loss to Holm, though, she has not been as visible in the MMA world and would not do any MMA-centric media leading into UFC 207.
Cyborg, meanwhile, is in the UFC and finally fighting for a title at 145 pounds. She’ll meet Tonya Evinger for the featherweight belt at UFC 214 on Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif. Cyborg, 32, has been a pro fighter since 2005 and this will be her first shot at gold at the highest level. Cyborg has knocked out every opponent since 2008 and has not lost a bout since her MMA debut.
Last month, White admitted in an interview with MMAjunkie that he and the UFC made “mistakes” in dealing with Cyborg. White and Cyborg have had a rocky relationship for years, but Cyborg said she’s willing to “forgive” him.
“It’s really nice when someone says they did a mistake and say that,” Cyborg said Thursday. “A lot of people don’t say anything. I respect that. I think I can forgive him, but there are consequences he cannot delete.
“I have a lot of things that people say about me on the internet. I have bad things that I don’t want to remember now. It’s hard to delete.”
Cyborg (17-1, 1 NC) said she’s operating under the assumption that Rousey was just talking trash to promote herself and didn’t actually mean all the things she said. Rousey, for a long time, harped on Cyborg’s past drug-test failure.
Now, it seems as if it’s water under the bridge. Cyborg even said she’d be willing to sit down with Rousey and talk and she made it clear that she respects what she has done for the sport.
“Maybe one day,” she said.