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As last fight of UFC contract draws near, Cris Cyborg keeps focus on Felicia Spencer

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Felicia Spencer could end up being Cris Cyborg's final opponent under the UFC banner.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

There aren’t many women out there being vocal about facing Cris Cyborg, even after she lost to Amanda Nunes in December. But, Felicia Spencer was.

Moments after a quick submission victory over former Invicta FC champion Megan Anderson in May, the undefeated Canadian said it would be an “honor” to face Cyborg in the Octagon. Shortly after that, Cyborg suggested UFC 240 in Edmonton as the destination, and all parts came to an agreement.

The featherweight clash is booked for July 27 in Canada, and is the last bout in Cyborg’s current deal with the promotion. And as she prepares in Johannesburg, South Africa for the challenge, Cyborg tries to focus only on the match-up and keep the contract negotiation aside for a bit.

“I’m happy that my next fight is in Canada,” Cyborg told MMA Fighting. “I have a lot of fans in Canada but never fought there before. I think it’s going to be a great fight. I know it’s the last fight fight in my contract, but, actually, I’m not thinking about that. I’m focused on one more fight in my career.”

Cyborg saw her 13-year unbeaten streak snapped at the hands of Nunes in Los Angeles, and now holds a 20-2 professional record with one no contest. Spencer, who made her professional debut when the Brazilian had already won the Strikeforce and Invicta FC titles, also held the Invicta FC gold before joining the UFC and improving to 7-0. Five of those wins came by way of stoppage, including four rear-naked chokes.

“Every fight is different and we have to be prepared for several situations,” Cyborg said of Spencer’s fighting style. “This is MMA and I have to be ready for everything. I believe it’s going to be a good fight.”

Cyborg’s future in the sport is still up in the air. She doesn’t rule out re-signing with the UFC or inking a deal with another promotion. And even though the featherweight star has had a rocky relationship with the UFC in the past, including president Dana White and color commentator Joe Rogan, she says her decision will be purely based on business.

“My career has had highs and lows, but I think that helps us to become more mature, to get better as a person, to learn, and to be an example for others,” Cyborg said. “There’s nothing personal between the UFC and I. I see it as business, so the decisions we make, that I make, what will happen, certainly will be something good for me. I’m not thinking about it right now, I really am focused on my next fight.

“I’ve fought for many promotions. EliteXC, Strikeforce champion, Invicta FC champion, the UFC, and I think the UFC is no different from the other promotions I’ve fought for before. It made my career and history stronger. Everybody already knew who Cris Cyborg was before I went to the UFC so, in reality, I brought my fans with me when I went to fight in the UFC. (My fans) campaigned to have me fighting in the UFC, and I’m happy with that.

“My story doesn’t end, of course. It will continue. Just like I’ve been in many promotions, I might continue fighting in the UFC… Right now I’m focused on my next fight, which is the most important thing for me at the moment.”

Speaking with MMA Fighting last week, Cyborg explained that Spencer was the only match-up offered to her since her quick knockout defeat to Nunes, which essentially refutes White’s claim that she turned down an offer to rematch the fellow Brazilian.

Cyborg is still interested in rematching “The Lioness” for the UFC gold, she says, but understands that it has to come both ways.

“The first thing I did after my last fight was ask for a rematch,” Cyborg said. “I asked Dana White and he publicly said he wouldn’t give me an immediate rematch. Amanda Nunes also said maybe after two years, so life goes on. That won’t stop my legacy or stop my work.

“If (this fight) has to happen, it will happen. It doesn’t depend only on me. If it did, it would have happened already because it was the first thing I asked after the fight. Everybody knows that doesn’t change my legacy. I lost the first of my career and that only made me stronger to get where I am, and I believe there’s much more to come.”

Cyborg-Spencer co-headlines UFC 240 at the Rogers Place in Edmonton, Canada, on July 27. The pay-per-view card will feature featherweight champion Max Holloway defending his throne against former 155-pound champion Frankie Edgar.