Ronda Rousey was called out by Cris “Cyborg” Justino on Twitter earlier this week to accept a catchweight fight at 140lbs according to MSN. Rousey had repeatedly said in the past that if Justino wanted to challenge her for the belt, “Cyborg” would need to come down to Ronda’s bantamweight of 135lbs, but now that Rousey is no longer the champ, Cris saw it as an opportunity to coax Ronda into the octagon.
— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) April 15, 2016
The animosity between Ronda and Cris has continued to grow as just last fall Rousey touted Justino’s 2012 suspension for steroid use as a reason to keep “Cyborg” at bay. According to Fox Sports, in August, Ronda, who at the time was undefeated, was staving off rumors she would fight Justino.
“I’m prepared to deal with anything. That’s why I’m the champ,” Rousey had noted. “I fight in the UFC 135-pound division. She (Cyborg) can fight at 145 pumped full of steroids and she can make weight just like everybody else without them.”
Justino threatened legal action if Rousey continued to make the steroid claims, and at the time, “Cyborg” was still in talks to even solidify a contract with the UFC. Dana White had said if Cris was able to make the weight to fight then-champion Ronda, he would find a way to make it happen. Then Rousey was hit with the unexpected, a swift kick in the head by newcomer Holly Holm.
Holly Holm defeated Ronda Rousey for the UFC Bantamweight Championship in November. Rousey’s head became such a target in the match that it rattled Ronda’s teeth to the point the fighter wasn’t even allowed to eat an apple for six months let alone make an attempt to get back the belt. Since Holm’s defeat of Rousey, she also found herself without the belt in a matter of months when another Ronda Rousey rival, Miesha Tate, caught Holly Holm in a choke hold to win the belt. Since then, the bantamweight division has been tossed upside down.
While some expected Tate would get a rematch with Holm, who had been ahead in points until the final minute of the fight, others wondered if the stage was being set for Rousey, who has twice defeated Miesha, to regain the belt. Instead, as previously reported by Inquisitr, Tate will do her first belt defense against Amanda Nunes.
While many projected Ronda Rousey wouldn’t be ready to fight until this upcoming fall as she continues to heal from her injuries in the Holly Holm fight as well as fulfill a few film obligations, the UFC finally inked a deal with “Cyborg.” Justino is set to take on Leslie Smith at UFC 198 next month in her UFC debut in another catchweight fight. Should “Cyborg” get past Smith, some have to wonder if Dana White will want to forego a Rousey versus Holm or Rousey versus Tate rematch to test Ronda’s resolve. In the past, White has been accused of handling Ronda with kid gloves, touting her as the face of women’s fighting.
While Ronda Rousey has yet to respond this time to Justino’s challenge, UFC commentator Joe Rogan notes that “Cyborg” could be a more devastating opponent to face than Holly Holm was.
“She comes after you, guns blazing, like Ronda attempted to do in that fight (against Holm), but Cris has more weapons. Cris uses knees and kicks and elbows, and is obviously physically stronger, so it’s a very problematic fight for Ronda now, stylistically, for sure.”
[Ronda Rousey cover image via Harry How/Getty Images.]