This past Saturday Cristiane 'Cyborg' Justino fought the last fight of her UFC contract. 'Cyborg' not only won, but put on a clinic for 3 rounds in which her game opponent Felicia Spencer never really looked competitive. Admittedly some of you may be confused by my statement about Spencer if you only heard Joe Rogan's commentary. However, that is another story for another time.
The question has to be where does 'Cyborg go from here? For years, many clambered to see her in the UFC and to get her wish of a featherweight division for the ladies. Well the UFC made it. 'Cyborg' came, conquered and then was dethroned by P4P great Amanda Nunes in her fight previous to the Spencer showdown. Justino's run has been blighted by many fighters pulling out, as well as much discussion over her physique and previous use of steroids outside of the organisation. Therefore many (not me) believe she has always been overrated.
This is a short sighted view and her power/skilled stand up is something to marvel at. She was simply outclassed and outboxed by Nunes, who in recent fights has looked unbeatable at both Bantamweight and Featherweight. This shouldn't be a tarnish on Justino's legacy, it should just be the passing of the torch, for now. In my opinion, because of all the talk over her legacy and the shit talking regarding her drug use (let's not be naive, most fighter have done it, but shhhhhhhh), Cyborg should be given the shot to run it back with Nunes. It's the fight I want to see and the fight I feel she deserves after giving so much to female MMA over the years.
I mean, Holly Holm gets a title shot once a week at this point. She is nowhere near a pioneer, only the destroyer of Ronda Rousey.
While I want to see that happen, there appears to be a much better option for 'Cyborg'. The PFL is calling. The Professional Fighters League has been making strides in it's second season and has recently signed No.1 free agent in MMA Brendan Loughnane for their third season. The real kicker for 'Cyborg' though is that is has a 155 pound division. With her increasing age, the weight cut seems to be more of a struggle. Lightweight would be her perfect weight these days and it would almost ensure us of a showdown with Kayla Harrison. If Cyborg were to win the tournament at lightweight, she would bag herself a cool $1 Million in prize money too. A slight more than the UFC is paying her currently.
The fight with Kayla Harrison is one I am sure many MMA fans are hoping for. Harrison is a former Olympic Judoka (only the 2 gold medals!) and is currently 5-0 in her MMA venture. She already has two submissions and two TKO's to her name. Meaning she is well rounded as well as she is dominant, This makes her a perfect opponent for Cyborg. Kayla will be tested on the feet and 'Cyborg' will have to see if she can withstand the takedown attempts of an Olympic judo player (something we never saw in the UFC with Rousey retiring). Thinking of this fight, makes my man boobs jiggle a little with excitement. It may also be more likely than the former option of Nunes too.
'Cyborg' and Dana White simply don't like each other. For years he refused to put her in the spotlight, yet would push Ronda Rousey, Meisha Tate and Joanna Jędrzejczyk. What do these fighters have in common? They are pretty and not to put it lightly, 'Cyborg' is not. Dana even went as far as to keep Justino from being in the UFC full stop for years. Dana tried desperately to crown a 145 champ before she entered the promotion and Germaine De Randamie was crowned the champ after a 5 round bore vs you guessed it! Holly Holm. De Randamie then flat out refused to defend against 'Cyborg', leading her to being stripped and 'Cyborg' winning the title via TKO in the second round against a game Tonya Evinger.
Dana could no longer ignore the fans who supported her. She was champion and was emphatically crowned. 'Cyborg' defended twice and even beat.....you guessssseeeddddd it! Holly Holm. Yet she was never given the respect she deserved from the UFC President. Cut to some time later and Dana is insulting her on twitter and saying she doesn't want to sign a new contract as she wants "easy fights'. Sure Dana. 'Cyborg' has destroyed a who's who of the WMMA scene, but is scared..... Sometimes I don't know how he believes his own rhetoric.
Following her win last Saturday Justino had this to say at the post fight press conference regarding her current boss "I don’t have the best relationship with Dana White. He’s bullied me around, bullied me on the Internet and I’m suffering bullying everywhere because of this. I have a daughter, I have a father and I don’t think it’s nice and he’s never, ever said, ‘I’m sorry’ or told me anything about this. It’s going to continue, it’s not finished.”
Ouch. Dana looks more of a prick. What a surprise.
For me I want to selfishly see Nunes and 'Cyborg' run it back. It'll be a barn burner no doubt. However I have to say the free agent market seems a great option. Rizin would also welcome her with open arms, but there just isn't the competition to continue her legacy. Let's hope she wins the title again, vacates at the end of her contract and moves over to PFL and that way, we can see alllllll the fights.