UFC president Dana White confirmed just a couple of days ago that he and his promotion were done dealing with Cris “Cyborg” Santos, but on Friday, we learned just what is next for the former Strikeforce featherweight champion.
Cyborg is heading to Invicta FC, where she will immediately jump into the mix at 145 pounds as one of the promotion’s top contenders.
Her first fight is already set, as she returns from more than a year on the sidelines, serving out a 12-month suspension after testing positive for steroids following her last fight. Cyborg will square off with fellow Brazilian and two-time Invicta veteran Ediane Gomes at Invicta FC 5 on April 5 in Kansas City.
Cyborg and her manager, UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz, announced her new home at a Friday press conference.
The winner of the match-up between Cyborg and Gomes will square off with Marloes Coenen at Invicta FC 6, on a date to be announced.
White said the UFC was prepared to keep Cyborg under contract after they assimilated the roster of Strikeforce fighters, but couldn’t come to a reasonable agreement that satisfied both the promotion and Cyborg.
The UFC has no 145-pound women’s division, and was unwilling to have its 135-pound champion, Ronda Rousey, fight outside of her weight class any time soon. Cyborg was unwilling to make the drop to 135 pounds.
White was still willing to keep her under contract and find fights for her outside of the organization, likely with Invicta, but that didn’t sit well either her or Ortiz.
“UFC wanted to sign a huge deal with Cris Cyborg, but they wanted to stick her over in Invicta. It didn’t make sense to me,” Ortiz told Inside MMA recently.
“I talked to Cyborg time and time again, asked her and asked her. She said I would love to do a three-fight deal; fourth fight would be against Ronda. Let’s get it done at 140, not be a fight for the 135-pound championship.”
That wasn’t going to happen, so Ortiz asked the UFC for Cyborg to be released from her existing Zuffa contract.
Now, she’ll go directly over to Invicta without the UFC acting as a middleman.
Ortiz said that the fight with Rousey will happen down the road.
“Cris Cyborg will dominate. The fight with her and Ronda, this fight will happen in the future,” declared Ortiz. “Ronda, my client will be coming after you. She’s one of the most dominating competitors in mixed martial arts today.”