Yes, Cris “Cyborg” Justino is under contract with Zuffa, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
No, that doesn’t mean that she’s automatically got a shot at UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Not in the least.
Brazilin news outlet Globo on Wednesday reported that it had confirmed with Cyborg that she was indeed under contract with the UFC despite currently competing for Invicta FC as that promotion’s featherweight champion.
MMAWeekly.com had caught wind of this before Invicta FC’s last event in February and questioned Invicta president Shannon Knapp about the situation, but she was reluctant to answer. UFC president Dana White on Wednesday, however, confirmed to UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani that Cyborg had indeed been signed to a Zuffa contract about two months ago, well before her Feb. 28 Invicta title defense.
Simple: because she has yet to fight anyone at 135 pounds in mixed martial arts.
White told Helwani that they inked Cyborg to a deal to show how serious they were that they were not avoiding a fight between her and Rousey. The condition, however, is that any such fight must take place at 135 pounds, which is Rousey’s weight class.
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If and when Cyborg makes weight, fights, and wins at 135 pounds, then we could see the biggest women’s fight in mixed martial arts history; perhaps one of the biggest fights in UFC history.
Cyborg currently has plans to defend her featherweight belt at an Invicta FC event in Las Vegas during the UFC’s International Fight Week in July. After that, we’re likely to see her try to make 135 pounds in her next Invicta fight, which would probably take place in late 2015.
Then, if she makes weight and wins, we could possibly see Rousey vs. Cyborg in the UFC Octagon in 2016.
In the mean time, Rousey has signed to fight Cyborg’s fellow Brazilian Bethe Correia in the UFC 190 main event on Aug. 1 in Rio de Janeiro.