The new UFC owners are determined to have a championship bout on ever PPV, even if everyone knows the true champion is not involved. This is the one undeniable trend that has occurred since Zuffa sold the company to WME-IMG earlier this year.
The latest example of this involves the inaugural women’s featherweight championship bout scheduled for UFC 208. Everyone knows that Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino is women’s champion for any weight above 135lbs. She hasn’t lost in a decade. Any fighter above bantamweight claiming to be champion without first beating her is not fooling anyone.
Cyborg Can’t Make Weight in 8 Weeks
It is not as though title fights weren’t offered to Cyborg however, as it appears several were. The issue appears to be the time it takes for Cyborg to prepare for the cut to 145lbs.
“What’s crazy about that is this, I offered Cris Cyborg a title fight at 145lbs a month ago,” Dana White said recently during an appearance on UFC Unfiltered.
“She had eight weeks to get ready for it, she said she couldn’t make the weight, said she couldn’t make 145 pounds.”
“Joe Silva’s like, ‘If she can’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks, 145 isn’t the right weight class for her either.’”
The UFC has also been trying to organize a featherweight title unification bout between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway for UFC 208, but that bout is also now up in the air. Holloway it seems, after calling out Jose Aldo Saturday, now is not sure the February 11th date works for him.
Cyborg Responds to Dana White
Cyborg issued a response to Dana White on Tuesday, noting that MMA fans know who the real champion is.
“Everybody knows I’m the featherweight champion,” Cyborg stated to media. “I’m undefeated for 10 years in my division. They put this belt only to sell the fight for the new MMA fans. For an example, Holly is coming off two consecutive losses and will fight for the belt. The real fight fans know what’s real.”
Cyborg continued to say that she is glad the UFC created the division.
“It’s been 11 years I’m fighting for women to have the same rights as men with several divisions.”
She’s right. Without Cyborg the UFC would not be creating this division.
Rousey vs. Holm 2
UFC President Dana White appeared on ESPN recently to defend the non-Cyborg title fight. He also planted a seed that should both Rousey and Holm win their next bouts it sets up an intriguing rematch/champion vs champion bout between the two.
“This is a business of opportunity,” White said. “When opportunity arises, you jump up and take it. If you don’t, the bus is gone, and it passes you by. If Holly wins and becomes a champion, and that’s the scenario [Rousey regains the title]? I guarantee people will want to see it.”
While a champion vs champion rematch sounds appealing, each fighter has a tremendous obstacle to overcome before it could happen. Holm has suffered two frustrating losses in a row, which will provide a tremendous mental hurdle for her to overcome at UFC 208. As for Ronda, there is little evidence available that she even wants to fight anymore. Hopefully she still does.
“This is a business. I had two girls who wanted to fight for the 145-pound title. This is the pros. If you play for the Patriots, you don’t sit around and say, ‘I don’t feel like playing this weekend.’ We brought her in because she said she could make 135 pounds. When she couldn’t, the weight cut was too hard, we created the 145-pound division — and she still doesn’t want to fight.”
Consider this a message from the UFC to its champions and title-challengers:
You’re going to fight when they want you to. Otherwise they’ll just have title matches without you. Unless your name is Conor McGregor that is…