With that latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC may be finally committing to opening up a women’s featherweight division - too bad their champion, Cris Cyborg, might not be sticking around to see it.
Cris Cyborg only has two fights left on her UFC contract and when that’s done, she says she intends to step away from MMA to pursue her dream of boxing professionally.
“Of course, I need time for training,” Cyborg told Kevin Iole while sitting ringside in a “Cyborg vs. Braekhus, 2019” shirt at HBO Boxing’s Saturday night event featuring female welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus. “I think 4-6 months training. That would be perfect since I have two fights left in MMA and then I can focus on boxing. I’m very excited.
“After these fights, I will do a boxing fight. After these two fights left. Maybe I’ll come back but not for now. I want to use this time and make more boxing fights. This is my dream.”
Cyborg has long been one of the most feared strikers in MMA but only made the transition to the UFC in 2016 after years of feuding with President Dana White. She won the vacant featherweight title last year and has defended it twice, most recently in March against Yana Kunitskaya.
While she says she plans on devoting herself fully to boxing once this contract with the UFC is over, with the potential to return to MMA at some future point, she also says she’d be willing to work with the UFC if it wanted to allow her to box and retain the women’s 145-pound belt.
“I would like to work with them. If the UFC works it and I can do boxing fights and still have the belt and come back like McGregor did, let’s see,” said Cyborg.
Cyborg says the interest in boxing comes from a desire to “challenge myself” but without a developed featherweight division. The UFC has had to scramble to find challengers for her, pulling fighters up from their 135-pound division to fill in. In boxing though, Cyborg will have no such issues as Braekhus - the unified welterweight champion and widely considered to be one of the best female boxers alive - says she’d love to fight Cyborg and that a fight between the two of them would at least be more competitive than Conor McGregor’s foray into the sweet science.
“That is one option, absolutely,” said Braekhus after her bout on Saturday (courtesy of FightHub TV). “I was very surprised - I saw [Cyborg’s] fight against Holly Holm, the former number-one pound-for-pound boxer in the world and she was really giving her competition on the striking game. Yes, that kind of tickled me for a fight against Cyborg. I know she’s very interested in that. She’s texting me and writing me, she really wants to do this and if we can get it done, sure. I think it would be a spectacular thing to do.
“I think she’s actually a better striker than McGregor so I think that would be a much more competitive fight than Mayweather-McGregor also.”
Cyborg has previously spent some time with Braekhus as well as U.S. Olympic gold medalist boxer Claressa Shields. She also, as Braekhus mentioned, dominated a mostly striking bout against former two-time Ring Magazine Female Fighter of the Year, Holly Holm, in December. But perhaps the biggest incentive - moreso than level of competition or challenging oneself - is the presumed paycheck that will come with a crossover bout of this stature. Braekus’ promoter Tom Loeffler summed it up thusly, saying that it would be a “huge fight,” especially in Braekhus’ home country of Norway.
“Now you’re hitting on a fight where the financial expectations actually can generate some interest,” said Loeffler. “Cecilia will tell you that she’s been in contact with Cyborg. . .
“She came to generate some publicity for that fight. They have a mutual respect. If there’s a way to try to make that work, I know in Norway that would be a huge fight. Cyborg, with what she’s doing in the octagon and UFC, would definitely compliment where Cecilia’s at in her career.”
First, Cyborg would have to finish out her UFC contract though, and though she does not currently have a return date from the UFC, she did say that possible opponents would be Amanda Nunes or the winner of the Holly Holm-Megan Anderson fight at UFC 225 this summer.
“I really don’t know when they’re gonna make my next fight,” said Cyborg. “Let’s see Holly Holm against Megan Anderson, and after let’s see if Amanda is going to accept the fight or not. She just made 135. I don’t know if she’s gonna fight soon.”
Get hype about the Pico train.
Learn some things.
Nunes went on Jenny McCarthy’s show.
Anderson on Khabib.
Beatdown After the Bell. Immediate post-fight reaction to Invicta 29.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Taking it on the chin.
I went out on my shield as warriors dream of. To the negative I’m still better than you fucks. To the positive thanks for the love & support. Live by the sword die by the sword. I’m broken but still smiling and proud.— Ian McCall (@Unclecreepymma) May 6, 2018
Honestly............ I don’t know. But, I hear the last person I knocked out may be fighting for an interim belt. If he wins I’m in. I’m 225 right now and pretty ripped. Never making 185 again. https://t.co/OWz2gxfSUZ— michael (@bisping) May 5, 2018
@bisping 5am Twitter rants? Say no to drugs and say yes to the contract. Any weight, any where, any time.— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 5, 2018
I was gonna lower myself to responding with an insult, but it seems the public have done it for me. Haha. Still a salty little bitch aren’t you— michael (@bisping) May 5, 2018
Bisping was just popular this weekend.
I asked ufc, they asked me. Honestly, who makes sense? Serious question? Up and comer? Old legend? I have no idea https://t.co/k32fpmeXac— michael (@bisping) May 5, 2018
don’t think you should be giving out fashion tips kid stay in your lane. pic.twitter.com/6fHdyO3VXO— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) May 3, 2018
Well affliction paid me a lot to wear that jacket. It’s called sponsorship, you may wanna try and get some. Also, if you’re gonna spend hours trawling the web looking for a bad pic, there’s way worse ones than that. #fail https://t.co/ADDBMrYpXN— michael (@bisping) May 4, 2018
Do me a favor my friend. Message me your number and let’s talk like gentlemen on Monday on the @BYMPod all love and respect, I’m just a ball buster. Hit me back! Let’s speak like men, right?— michael (@bisping) May 5, 2018
And these two were going at it too.
Kiddo?? Say that when you see me...I was winning world titles when you were playing with you legos— Rafael dos Anjos (@RdosAnjosMMA) May 4, 2018
you would step on a lego and pull out of a fight so relax there filho— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) May 4, 2018
WTF has I sport turned to. Only thing he won was the eating contest the day before. https://t.co/5IDfmPt5Gg— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) May 6, 2018
King Mo channeling his inner Kimbo.
I miss ref cam.
For all you single guys out there. The best place to find a hookup is jail visitation. Its 99% women and all their deadbeat husbands are locked up. #coach— Din Thomas (@DinThomas) May 6, 2018
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
1999: At UFC 20, Bas Rutten won a controversial split decision over Kevin Randleman to win the UFC heavyweight championship. This event also featured the first UFC win of Wanderlei Silva’s career, a knockout victory over Tony Petarra.
2016: Tonya Evinger won a unanimous decision over Coleen Schneider at Invicta 17 to retain her bantamweight championship. In the co-main event, Angela Hill won the strawweight title with a split decision over Livia Renata Souza.
Kyoji Horiguchi is awesome and it’s super cool that the UFC decided it didn’t want to re-sign him considering he’s would be the front runner to take over for DJ if and when he retires. Glad we’re never gonna get that rematch.
Hope y’all enjoyed the fights this weekend. The UFC is back this weekend and they’re being counter-programmed by Bellator on Saturday night so it’s a big week. Buckle up.
What event are you more excited for on Saturday?
This poll is closed
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.