Ronda Rousey has not been in any hurry to fight her arch-nemesis Cris Cyborg, and it’s a topic the UFC president attempted to address on a recent episode of UFC Unfiltered. White has been one of Rousey’s biggest cheerleaders since bringing her in from Strikeforce and creating a viable women’s bantamweight division around her.
“Ronda wants to fight her. They’d have to figure out at what weight they’d fight, but Ronda wants that fight,” White said.
There are problems with Dana White’s assessment of the situation, however.
His partnership with Ronda Rousey worked for quite some time, with Rousey winning the inaugural UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship in 2012 and successfully defending the title for the next three years until then-unbeaten Holly Holm put a stop to things at UFC 193 in November.
During her UFC run, one storyline the company was never able to capitalize on was a potential superfight between Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg. Cyborg was (and remains) the resident monster of women’s MMA, with no one even coming close to beating her in a cage for several years.
When Ronda Rousey was still unbeaten, interest was high, escalated by the fact Ronda had a gift for trash talk. She frequently took jabs at Cyborg, calling her a cheater after a failed drug test and charging that she “didn’t care if she (Cyborg) injected horse semen into her eyeballs,” per Bloody Elbow, she would be happy to fight and defeat Cyborg.
Actions were another story, however.
— Bleacher Report MMA (@BR_MMA) October 6, 2016
Ronda said she would fight Cris Cyborg provided Cyborg was able to drop down 20 pounds and fight at 135.
The weight cut was a difficult one for Cyborg to make, and even though Ronda Rousey had fought heavier and would have had no trouble meeting Cyborg at a 140-pound catchweight, she chose not to take the fight, stating her first obligation was to the UFC title.
Once Holm took the title from her last November, the dynamics of power shifted. Cris has fought twice in UFC, scoring easy victories in each encounter. For her last fight, she was able to hit 141 pounds, well within Ronda’s wheelhouse.
She has continued to confess she would like to beat up on Ronda Rousey, and now the odds are firmly in her favor.
Before the Holm loss, Ronda Rousey was seen as someone who could legitimately beat Cyborg, but the severity of the Holm loss has all but shattered those beliefs in the MMA community. As a result, interest has started to wane in the superfight, with most expecting a one-round demolition in Cyborg’s favor.
This places Ronda Rousey in an awkward position. Dana White continues to try and sell the fight, and in recent weeks, he has felt more optimistic about Rousey fighting before the end of the year.
The only problem with that is all the desire for Ronda to get back into the cage is coming from him, not her. Rousey has stayed low-key since the loss, only doing a handful of appearances.
She has signed a movie deal with the Lifetime Move Network and submitted to one deeply personal interview with Ellen DeGeneres in which she admitted to contemplating suicide after the Holm loss. Nowhere have the words “Cris Cyborg” surfaced in any of those appearances.
It’s more likely Dana White wants Ronda Rousey back in the cage as soon as possible, but he has also promised to give her all the time she needs. He’s holding out hope Ronda wants to come back as much as he wants her back. Her actions — or lack thereof — have rained on those hopes.
— theScore (@theScore) October 7, 2016
It’s unlikely Ronda Rousey wants to fight Cris Cyborg; in fact, it’s unlikely she wants to fight again at all. That doesn’t mean the fight (or a fight) won’t happen. Rousey craves the spotlight and seemed to flourish in it when things were going her way.
That urge will come back as Hollywood’s interest fades. She will probably fight again, but it won’t be as much on her terms, and if it’s against Cris Cyborg, it will be for the payday alone with a grim forecast.
But what do you think, readers? Has Ronda Rousey lost her will to fight, and do you think she would stand a chance against Cris Cyborg in her current state? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by UFC]