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Cris Cyborg says she prefers top featherweight contender, rather than Amanda Nunes superfight, next

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Dana White said Thursday that he believes Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes is “the fight to make.” Not so fast, Cyborg is saying a few hours later.

In a post to her official website, Cyborg wrote that she would prefer a top contender in her featherweight division rather than a superfight with Nunes, the UFC women’s bantamweight champion, in her next bout. Cyborg wrote that if Nunes wants to compete for the featherweight title, she should fight and win a fight in that division first.

“I can continue giving fans superfights, however in order for this division to grow it is my responsibility to respect the work of all the women fighting at 145lbs and give the top girls a chance at the title once they have earned it,” Cyborg wrote. “If Amanda Nunes truly wants an opportunity at the 145lbs belt, a win against any ranked contender in that division would help establish her back in a weight class she left before fighting me.”

Cyborg (19-1, 1 NC) is coming off a unanimous decision win over Holly Holm, another bantamweight moving up, in the main event of UFC 219 last weekend. She wrote that Megan Anderson, the former Invicta featherweight champion, would be her preferred next opponent.

If Anderson has not straightened out some personal issues that are currently keeping her out, Cyborg mentioned Invicta’s Pam Sorenson as the next in line. Sorenson is on a two-fight winning streak.

Cyborg, 32, added that she wants to help build the 145-pound women’s division into one of strength and she cannot do that unless she fights top contenders — not women coming up from 135 — in title fights.

“As a World Champion it is important that you face the #1 contender,” Cyborg said. “That is what makes it sport and not entertainment, otherwise what are the girls fighting at 145lbs training to work towards if they know they will never be given a title shot even if they become the best in the world? I have a responsibility to the sport to ensure that when I retire the 145lbs division continues to exist, and it is because of that I want my next fight to be against a contender from the featherweight division that has fought at 145lbs within the last year.”

Cyborg vs. Nunes would be one of the biggest women’s fights the UFC could put on. Nunes has held the bantamweight title since submitting Miesha Tate in the UFC 200 main event in July 2016. Cyborg has not lost a bout since her pro debut in 2005.

In an interview Thursday with Yahoo Sports, White was bullish about a Cyborg vs. Nunes superfight.

“First of all, Amanda Nunes wants to fight her,” White said. “Amanda Nunes wants to fight Cyborg. That is the fight to make and that is the fight I will make. That’s the fight. Amanda Nunes is a big, strong, powerful puncher. I think she matches up very well with Cyborg too and I think that’s a fun fight and that’s the fight to make.”

Cyborg, though, seems to have other immediate plans.

“Having re-established myself as the WORLD CHAMPION at 145lbs I feel it is my obligation to fight the #1 contender at 145lbs in my next fight,” Cyborg wrote.

“I have fought 4 consecutive fights against girls who have come up from 145lbs to fight me, because they were “SUPERFIGHTS” for the fans. Besides Lina Lansburg (I fought her at 140) none of these girls had been fighting at featherweight.”

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