The most dominant champion in women’s MMA history tasted defeat when Amanda Nunes finished Cris Cyborg via KO in the first round at UFC 232.
It has been almost a decade since the Brazilian’s last defeat, and with only one fight left on her UFC contract, who knows if Cyborg will stay and re-sign or test the free agency. I personally would like to see the UFC build this 145-pound women’s division and have Cyborg re-sign. Although the champ champ, Amanda Nunes has come out and said she is all set at featherweight, I cannot see her turning down a pay day that would come with a rematch against Cris. This would be huge and do some good numbers in terms of PPV buys. UFC president, Dana White, has not shut down the rematch rumors but he did say that both women will have a fight first before a rematch is talked about. So, what is next for Cris?
With promotions like Bellator having competition at featherweight and the PFL building a lightweight women’s division, there are options for Cris. You know what they say, options are always good. Fighters like Kayla Harrison in the PFL, Megan Anderson and Leah Letson in the UFC, and a deeper talent pool in Bellator and Invicta FC, a few good options are present for the former champ.
I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t mind seeing Cris Cyborg fighting in PFL season 2, or even in Bellator who has a shown an interest in building the division around Julia Budd. Having a UFC belt is definitely amazing, but winning a world title in the three biggest MMA promotions in America again, would be very impressive. Even if she doesn’t accomplish winning a Bellator championship, she has already reached legendary status holding belts in the UFC, Strikeforce, and Invicta FC.
A fight that would be great for the former champ, would be against Kayla Harrison. It would be even bigger if it was in the UFC, given their platform. Cris Cyborg never got to fight Ronda Rousey and that’s a fight the people had been wanting to see for years. The fight never happened because Cris is not able to make 135-pounds and Ronda was not willing to go up or even fight at a catchweight. In comes Harrison. She’s a judoka who used to train with Rousey and a fighter that currently trains with Nunes to prep for her fights in the PFL. Harrison has made it know that she could make 145-pounds and has a strong desire to fight Cyborg.
Another interesting fight would be re-booking Anderson vs Cyborg. Anderson is coming off a win against Cat Zingano and is one of the few true featherweights signed to the UFC. With Holly Holm likely getting the next shot against Nunes at bantamweight, these two could fight for the undisputed featherweight strap.
When the smoke clears, I do believe the UFC will keep Cyborg, she will complete her last fight on her contract and hopefully get her rematch with “The Lioness.” Hopefully the UFC will sign more fighters and build the 145-pound women’s division, booking big fights for Cris before she decides to hang up the gloves.