When it comes to women’s MMA, most fans will claim its biggest rivalry is Ronda Rousey versus Cristiane Justino, who is better known as Cris Cyborg. It is spurned on by the fact both are considered the best in their respective weight divisions which means Rousey and Cyborg never facing each other in the cage. Still if a catchweight could be agreed on, many would love to see a superfight just to find out if the most-dominant bantamweight champion could oust the most-dominant featherweight champion, or vice-versa.
The aforementioned rivalry has become so epic, it now extends beyond simple promotion of a superfight, causing fans to be emotionally vested. This is surely true for Ronda Rousey fans who generally see no fault in her whatsoever. So when she lost at UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm, they were utterly shocked. Eventually, that shock would devolve into backlash, one described as almost everyone against Rousey.
However, there are many people who are empathetic to Ronda Rousey’s plight. Surprisingly, one of those people is Cris Cyborg, who made it known that she feels “terrible” about the MMA community backlash against Rousey.
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Prior to her fight against Daria Ibragimova at Invicta FC 15: Cyborg vs. Ibragimova, Cris Cyborg revealed she felt “terrible” about the MMA community backlash against Ronda Rousey during an interview with MMA Fighting.
“It’s terrible. When you’re there, every body is with you. I feel sorry about this. I know this, because before something happened in my career — the doping — and before everybody is with you [and then they’re not]. But I love my fans. Some fans kept with me and I’m sure she has that, too. It’s sad, but sometimes it’s good so you can see who’s with you. You can see who you really have to appreciate.”
Though some may find Cris Cyborg’s words to be far-fetched, she is speaking from a place of empathy because she went through her own plight in which the loyalty of her fans were tested. Back in 2011, Cyborg was the Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion and the pound-for-pound best female fighter on the planet. Her position on such a high pedestal came crashing down when she failed a drug test after defeating Hiroko Yamanaka. Cyborg’s win was changed to a “no contest,” her title was stripped from her, and she was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission.
It is also possible that Cris Cyborg’s empathy is a means to keep alive the potential superfight between her and Ronda Rousey. According to MMA Frenzy, talk about Rousey fighting Cyborg has died down considerably after Holly Holm massacred the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion in two rounds of decimation. The new superfight the MMA community is looking forward to now is Cyborg versus Holly Holm. Also, Holm is willing to fight Cyborg at a catchweight, a condition Rousey has disagreed on every single time when brought up. This fact adds more fuel to the fire for the Cyborg versus Holm superfight
Despite where anyone in the MMA community stands on Ronda Rousey’s loss to Holly Holm, it is difficult to argue that the ones who went beyond rationale to mold Rousey as an invincible goddess in MMA are the same ones now tearing her down with non-constructive criticism and insults. To be frank, it is interesting to see the people who are sympathizing with Rousey the most are those who should be reveling in Rousey’s downfall, Cyborg included.
[Photo by Jeff Chiu/Associated Press]