Bellator MMA was busy on Thursday announcing its restart of the women’s featherweight (145-pound) division by signing Marloes Coenen and Julia Budd.
While Carano may still be an option for Bellator – as UFC president Dana White has said that negotiations with her have grown complicated – it appears Cyborg has no immediate plans to join Coenen and Budd.
After news broke on Bellator rekindling its women’s division, MMAWeekly.com sources close to the fighter reassured that Cyborg currently has no intent to join Bellator’s 145-pound class. She instead wants to stick to her plan of dropping down to 135 pounds and eventually getting a shot at UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
Cyborg faces several hurdles, including statements that it was medically unsound for her to drop down to 135 pounds. Those comments were made while under the management of former UFC champion Tito Ortiz, whom she has since separated from.
White has said that the door is not closed on Cyborg, but made it clear that she would have to conform to the UFC’s weight classes, which means dropping down to 135 pounds, as that is the heaviest women’s division in the promotion.
“Either you wanna come (into the UFC) and try to be the champ or you don’t,” he said of Cyborg recently.
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The door for Cyborg to enter the UFC is right now probably as wide as it has been since the promotion first ushered in the 135-pound division. At that time, the UFC and Ortiz locked horns over Cyborg’s services, primarily clashing over the weight class. The UFC wouldn’t budge, and neither would Ortiz and Cyborg.
Now, however, the UFC has a strong partnership with Invicta FC, where Cyborg is currently the promotion’s 145-pound champion. Invicta has shown itself to be fully open to allowing its fighters to move into the UFC as the opportunity presents itself, and Cyborg, sans Ortiz, has embraced finding a healthy way to make 135 pounds.
Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp has also been open to her featherweight champion making the drop to 135 pounds with the hope of eventually getting a shot in the UFC. Cyborg realizes that she’ll need to do just that, drop to 135 pounds and get at least a fight or two in the weight class with Invicta under her belt before the UFC would be willing to take a chance on her fighting in its bantamweight class.
And as of right now, it appears that is what Cyborg fully intends to do.