A major change by the UFC has one of their top stars, Cris “Cyborg” Justino, upset. The UFC has announced that they are creating a women’s featherweight weight class, which will have a roster of women who will fight at 145 pounds. Former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm will face Germaine da Randamie in the first-ever women’s featherweight fight at UFC 208, according to the UFC website. Holm versus da Randamie will take place in Brooklyn, NY, on February 11.
Finally establishing a women’s featherweight division is huge news for the UFC. One that should create some opportunities for many of the fighters who either are over the 135 pound weight limit for a women’s bantamweight or have a hard time getting to the maximum. Cris Cyborg, who has had to set up a catch weight in all of her UFC fights, is one example of someone who should benefit from the UFC’s newest weight class. Cyborg reportedly has taken umbrage with the scheduled first bout.
The addition of a women’s featherweight weight class has Cris Cyborg feeling disrespected by the UFC, according to a report by ESPN. No one will argue that the inclusion of a 145 pound weight class in the women’s ranks was necessary. Cris Cyborg is unhappy about how quickly the weight class has come together.
Cyborg is also dismayed by the fact that she is not participating in the women’s featherweight first-ever bout in the UFC. Given her pedigree as the reigning Invicta FC featherweight champion, having her involved in the UFC’s first-ever featherweight match makes sense. She has been petitioning to the UFC to create a women’s 145 pound weight class. For her not to fight in the inaugural bout seems wrong.
“Yesterday, they said they had no girls to make this division. Today, they rush to make a belt. They are saying something to me.”
UFC President Dana White made an attempt to refute Cris Cyborg’s claim. White offered an admission that he tried to book Cyborg in the women’s featherweight title match at UFC 208.
“We’re in the fight business. That’s what we do for a living. We’re out to disrespect Cyborg? She said she couldn’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks. We offered her a second and a third fight. She turned them down. With everything I’ve got going on in my life, the last thing I’m thinking is, ‘Hey, let’s get together and disrespect Cyborg.'”
For Cris Cyborg to participate at UFC 208, she would have eight weeks to cut her weight in preparation to fight at 145 pounds. It is her claim that she needs to recover from trying to make the mandated catch weights of her last three fights. Cyborg also maintains that she could have fought in March. Instead of doing so with a UFC title at stake, she might take on another opponent.
Did the UFC do right by Cris Cyborg? That is the question many people have waged, and will continue to ask.
Cris Cyborg is 17-1 as an MMA fighter. She is a dominant fighter inside of the Octagon, one that would typically be favored in any UFC fight. If the UFC were to rush and book a bout between Cyborg and Holly Holm or Germaine da Randamie, it would seem as if they were building up for a coronation of sorts. Holm is strong as striker, but against Cyborg she may be overmatched. Against da Randamie Cyborg may be too powerful. At least the first-ever women’s featherweight match in the UFC will have some intriguing possibilities.
Holm versus da Randamie could be a clash of styles.
Holly Holm is a boxer going up against a kickboxer in da Randamie. Who will break first? Who will land the more powerful strikes? Who will hoist the women’s featherweight belt at UFC 208?
It will not be Cris Cyborg. And while she is deserving of the spotlight and the opportunity, she is the sure thing in the UFC. It would probably be best if the UFC builds a true challenger before she gets her shot.
[Featured Image by Buda Mendes/Getty Images]