For much of the year, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino had been openly complaining about the UFC’s apparent refusal to create a women’s 145lbs title…

from Fox Sports
from Fox Sports

Recently on the UFC Unfiltered podcast however, Dana White revealed that the company attempted to organize two fights for her that would have crowned an inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champion, only for Cyborg to turn both bouts down.

“She turned down two 145-pound title fights. One because she said she couldn’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks”
– Dana White on trying to book an inaugural women’s featherweight championship fight for Cyborg.

from ESPN
from ESPN

Cyborg in the UFC

When the UFC first signed Justino, the idea was to put her in the mix at 135lbs. Dana White explained further on the podcast

“When we did the deal with Cyborg, we sat down with her and said, ‘Listen, if you can make it down to 135 pounds, maybe we can hire you a dietitian and help you get there or whatever, and get you in the mix, get you a couple of with these girls and then fight Ronda for the title,’ and she was all in,”

According to Dana, Justino couldn’t get down to 135lbs however, which led the company to schedule catchweight bouts for her at 140lbs.
After those fights, it became apparent that Cyborg wasn’t going to be able to make 140lbs with regularity either. Within the last month, according to Dana, the company was ready to create a 145lbs title and division for her to fight in. Now, it appears 145lbs might be off the table as well.

from Bloody Elbow
from Bloody Elbow

Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm UFC 208

The fight that the UFC wanted to book for the inaugural women’s featherweight championship was Cyborg vs Holly Holm at UFC 208. Unfortunately both camps ended up passing on the bout.

According to Dana, Holm was initially excited at the prospect of facing Cyborg but turned down the fight based on advice from her coaches. According to Holly’s camp however, they agreed to a fight with Cyborg, but not at 145lbs.

“We accepted the Cyborg fight up to a certain weight limit. On two different occasions, we went up on weight (136lbs and 138lbs), and [Cyborg] turned them down.” stated Lenny Fresquez, Holm’s agent. 

Dana White went into detail about Cyborg’s passing on the bout during his UFC Unfiltered appearance:
“What’s crazy about that is, I offered Cris Cyborg a title fight at 145 pounds a month ago,” White stated on the podcast. “She had eight weeks to get ready for it, she said she couldn’t make the weight, said she couldn’t make 145 pounds. So then I offered her another 145-pound title fight for Brooklyn and she turned it down. She turned down two 145-pound title fights. One because she said she couldn’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks, and Joe Silva was like, ‘If she can’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks, 145 isn’t the right weight class for her either.’”

from Fox Sports
from Fox Sports

Who Can Cyborg Fight?

Cyborg has previously told the media that her ideal fighting weight would be 155lbs. Unfortunately the talent pool of women fighters at that weight is limited. Even Invicta doesn’t go above 145lbs.

There really aren’t many fights happening around the world for women bigger than featherweight, and nothing nearly at Cyborg’s level. If Cyborg wants a UFC title, she is going to have to find a way to cut down to 145lbs.

She is said to be targeting her next fight for March. If she is able to use this time to get her weight down to where a 145lbs weight cut wouldn’t be too taxing, we could see her fight for a championship next. But if 145lbs is off the table for her as well, she really will be a champion without a division.


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Ian is a MMA writer based out of Toronto, ON Canada. An avid mixed martial arts enthusiast and passionate fan since he was born, Ian has been writing about mixed martial arts for over 5 years.