While it appeared that Ronda Rousey and Cris “Cyborg” Justino were closer than ever to finally stepping into the Octagon opposite one another, those plans all came crashing down when Rousey crashed to the canvas courtesy of a Holly Holm head kick at UFC 193.
Prior to Holm’s upset of Rousey, UFC president Dana White said that Rousey intended to take a break after the fight in order to fulfill movie obligations and other commitments, so she wasn’t likely to fight again until UFC 200 next summer. He added that, if everything went to plan, her next opponent would likely be Cyborg, the fight that everyone has been chomping at the bit for.
Well, that plan went sideways. It was always contingent upon Rousey defeating Holm and Cyborg successfully fighting and winning at 135 pounds at least once before the match was made. With Rousey losing and a rematch with Holm planned for her next bout, Cyborg’s planned 140-pound catchweight fight in January will instead be at 145 pounds.
“I think, especially with the announcement that Ronda and Holly will have a rematch, I think it does kind of take (fighting at 135 pounds) off the table for her for a bit. But I still think that there’s a desire there at some point. And that’s still a fight I’d like to see, whether it’s Ronda or Holly or whoever it is,” Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp said on Friday night’s Inside MMA.
Cyborg is Invicta’s featherweight champion, so her fight at Invicta FC 15 in January will now be a title defense instead of a 140-pound bout.
“Cyborg’s next fight will be at 145 pounds,” said Knapp. “This will be the first time that she has competed without hydrating herself with an IV. So she’s made the decision to go ahead and defend her belt.”
While Cyborg is Invicta’s featherweight champion, in a unique situation, she is under contract with the UFC. So she is subject to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy enforced by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which means that she is also subject to the banned use of IV’s to rehydrate when cutting weight. That could make it much more difficult for her to get down to 135 pounds, which was never going to be an easy task for her in the first place.
Knapp did not elaborate on Cyborg’s immediate plans beyond the title defense in January, but confirmed that she is not expected to defend her belt against Cindy Dandois, who was her originally planned opponent when she was targeting a 140-pound catchweight fight.
“She won’t be fighting Cindy,” Knapp told MMAWeekly.com. “We are finalizing the bout agreements and will announce her opponent once they are signed.”