The who is next for Cris Cyborg round-robin continues.
After Cyborg defeated Holly Holm at UFC 219 in the first defense of her featherweight championship, she called for a fight with No. 1 contender Megan Anderson. Cyborg had been slated to fight Anderson for the UFC title when it was stripped from Germaine de Randamie, but Anderson had to withdraw due to personal issues.
It appears that those personal issues remain unresolved, so Cyborg vs. Anderson is off the table for the foreseeable future.
UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, lacking in top contenders for her title, has been calling for a shot at Cyborg. UFC president Dana White liked the idea so much that he declared it would be the fight he’d make next for Cyborg.
“First of all, Amanda Nunes wants to fight her. Amanda Nunes wants to fight Cyborg. That is the fight to make and that is the fight I will make. That’s the fight,” White told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday.
Even though Cyborg has said that if the UFC wanted her to fight Nunes, she would, she appears to be backtracking on that a bit, at least for her next title defense. She would rather face another contender and continue building the UFC women’s featherweight division, which is in its infancy.
“Having re-established myself as the world champion at 145 pounds, I feel it is my obligation to fight the No. 1 contender at 145 pounds in my next fight,” Cyborg said on her official website on Thursday.
“I have fought four consecutive fights against girls who have come up from 135 pounds to fight me because they were ‘superfights’ for the fans. Besides Lina Lansburg (I fought her at 140) none of these girls had been fighting at featherweight.
“As a World Champion it is important that you face the No. 1 contender. That is what makes it sport and not entertainment, otherwise what are the girls fighting at 145 pounds training to work towards if they know they will never be given a title shot, even if they become the best in the world? I have a responsibility to the sport to ensure that when I retire, the 145-pound division continues to exist, and it is because of that I want my next fight to be against a contender from the featherweight division that has fought at 145 pounds within the last year.”
Although the UFC is short on female featherweights, Cyborg even had a name in mind, since she is rejecting an immediate bout with Nunes.
“If Megan Anderson is not ready to fight, then the next available contender Pam Sorenson deserves the opportunity. I can continue giving fans superfights, however, in order for this division to grow it is my responsibility to respect the work of all the women fighting at 145 pounds and give the top girls a chance at the title once they have earned it,” Cyborg continued.
“If Amanda Nunes truly wants an opportunity at the 145-pound belt, a win against any ranked contender in that division would help establish her back in a weight class she left before fighting me.”
The UFC has yet to comment on Cyborg’s rejection of White’s planned champion vs. champion superfight, but you can count Sorenson in.
“If Anderson is unavailable, I’d definitely be down to share the cage with Cris Cyborg” Sorenson told WMMA Rankings on Thursday.
Though she holds victories over inaugural UFC flyweight champion Nicco Montano and UFC flyweight contender Jessica Rose-Clarke, Sorenson has fought her three most recent bouts at either 140 or 145 pounds. Though she dropped a slit decision to Ediane Gomes, Sorenson bounced back and is currently on a run that includes back-to-back victories over Helena Kolesnyk and Jan Finney.