Cris “Cyborg” Justino is now more confident than she’s ever been that she’ll be able to make the 135-pound weight for a UFC Bantamweight Championship fight with Ronda Rousey December 5.
The admission comes by way of an ESPN interview with Justino’s manager, George Prajin. It also follows on the heels of rumors, largely circulated by Tito Ortiz and denied by UFC President Dana White, that the premier MMA promotion has already offered Justino the fight.
Here are Prajin’s exact words regarding the fight possibilities.
“I don’t negotiate in the media, nor do I disclose negotiations to the press. What I can say, and the only reason I say this is because of what is going on between Tito and Dana — I can confirm that I had multiple conversations with the UFC in the last week regarding Cris and a potential fight [against Rousey] in December.
I can also confirm the end result of those conversations is that Cris is agreeable to fighting Ronda on Dec. 5 at Cowboys Stadium [at 135 pounds].”
For the last title defense of Cris Cyborg — at an Invicta FC event in July — Justino weighed 144.6, though, Prajin mused, she “could have been significantly lighter” at the time of the fight.
If this is the case, that would be a change of character for a woman who once had a win removed and changed to a No Contest because she came in “significantly” heavier, to use Prajin’s words.
Even when Justino has tested clean for anabolic steroids — and she has since 2011 — she still struggles with respecting weight limits at her fights.
What the UFC is likely trying to avoid is a situation where Cris Cyborg agrees to fight at 135, then shows up at the weigh-in five or 10 pounds overweight.
The company would be left with two options: cancel the fight and eat the promotional dollars that went into it or go through with the fight and put the face of women’s MMA at a distinct disadvantage against a much heavier opponent.
Of course, many believe Ronda Rousey would be able to adjust and get the job done, but it’s true that she’s never faced an opponent as powerful and ruthless as Cyborg before.
The likeliest scenario — if the fight does happen — is that it would be pushed back to some time next year, and that Miesha Tate would step up for a third fight (and probable third loss) against Rousey at the December 5 date.
What do you think, readers? Will this Justino-Rousey fight ever happen, and should it happen at 135 or a catchweight of 140?
[Image via Official Website of Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino]