New UFC women’s featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino is ready to book her next fight and she hopes a former champion will be standing across the Octagon from her in December.
Cyborg recently called out former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm to meet her at UFC 219, which is currently scheduled for Dec. 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
It’s the same fight Cyborg mentioned after winning the title last month when she earned a third-round TKO stoppage against Tonya Evinger to become champion at 145 pounds.
According to Cyborg, she’s been trying to land the fight with Holm for more than two years already and believes it’s finally time for the two of them to step into the cage together and go to war.
“Holly Holm is the girl who knocked out Ronda Rousey,” Cyborg proclaimed when speaking to MMAWeekly.com about why she wanted the fight. “A lot of fans don’t know this, but the night Holly Holm fought Raquel Pennington we tried to get the match-up against Holly. Instead of doing that match-up, the UFC did an Invicta event the night before and had me headline that fight card. I feel if I would have fought Holly the night Cat (Zingano) fought Ronda, it would have been me who KO’d Ronda in Australia.
“When we first talked about dropping to 140 [pounds] we requested Holly for UFC 198 and then again when we returned to 140 for UFC Brasilia. Stylistically it is a good match-up. At 140 pounds, my team felt I had the footwork and kept enough power that we could create problems for her on the feet. She is a southpaw and my best punches are my right hand and left hook. We have known Holly was going to be an opponent for a while and a lot of the past 10 months outside of the cage during training have had that in preparation.”
Back in February, Cyborg also got the chance to see what Holm looked like at 145 pounds when she fought for the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight title against Germaine de Randamie.
Holm ultimately lost a razor-close decision before returning with a huge knockout over former title contender Bethe Correia in June. While she was previously a champion at 135 pounds, Holm has stated that she would be willing to return to featherweight if the right opportunity presented itself.
A title fight against Cyborg seems like the perfect invitation.
And as much as the fight might appear to be striker against striker with Cyborg finishing 16 past opponents by knockout or TKO, while Holm is a former world champion boxer, the new queen at 145 pounds says this match-up might get her the chance to show off some new tricks fans haven’t seen from her before.
“With Holly fighting at UFC 208 against [Germaine de Randamie] we got to see her face a striker with power similar to mine. That fight also showed me a lot about her wrestling,” Cyborg explained. “After watching that fight, I don’t think she has the power at 145 pounds to stop my takedown, and fans have not had a chance to see my Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
“Since I am known as a ground-and-pound fighter, fans always forget I’m a two-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu World Champion in the gi and an ADCC Bronze medalist at no gi.”
Styles make fights and Cyborg believes out of all the potential contenders gunning for her 145-pound title, Holm would give her the most interesting matchup not to mention arguably the biggest fight that could take place right now in the division.
“I think this is a fight for the fans,” Cyborg stated. “I have an aggressive style with a strong punch. Holly has an elusive style with a strong kick.
“It will be a classic puncher versus kicker, however, I feel there is a big part of my Muay Thai game that I have not exposed on video, and I think there is a big difference in the strength in our wrestling.”
The UFC hasn’t made any formal announcements about the card taking place on Dec. 30 outside of confirming the event is set for that date in Las Vegas.
Cyborg never got the opportunity to face Ronda Rousey during her career, so it’s tough to argue against her logic that the next best thing would be to face the woman responsible with handing the former champion her first career loss.
(Photo courtesy of UFC)