With the absence of Ronda Rousey in 2016, and no one successfully defending the 135-pound title since she relinquished it to Holly Holm at UFC 193, it’s hard to argue that Cris “Cyborg” Justino isn’t the top pound-for-pound women’s fighter in the world.
The 31-year-old Brazilian hasn’t lost an MMA fight in eleven years. She retired Gina Carano and has reigned supreme in the 145-pound women’s division since 2009. She holds the Invicta FC featherweight title, and she’s finished both of her UFC opponents in one-sided fashion.
Cyborg is a well-established name and possibly the most dominant fighter over their division in the world. She’s fought in the UFC, but the fight promotion doesn’t officially have her division. Despite that technicality, many consider her the uncrowned UFC women’s 145-pound champion.
“For me, Cyborg is already the featherweight champion even though we don’t have that division. There is no one to fight her. No one comes close to her in this division,” said former UFC Vice President and General Manager of Brazil Giovani Decker following Cyborg’s TKO win over Lina Lansberg at UFC Fight Night Brasilia in September.
UFC president Dana White echoed Decker’s stance on Cyborg not having any viable opponents in the 145-pound division during an appearance on “Speak For Yourself.” “There aren’t enough good women at 145 pounds to create an entire division,” White told host Jason Whitlock.
Decker’s claim that there isn’t anyone to fight Justino isn’t exactly true. Former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate isn’t opposed to taking on Cyborg.
“When I was the champ, they told me that. The UFC was like, ‘we’re not going to do a catch-weight, so either she has to meet you at 135 or you have to not be the champion. I suppose now that I’m not the champion, I technically could fight her at 140,” Tate said during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour.
“The thing is, I just feel like I have nothing to lose in that. You’re fighting a girl that has been such a powerhouse, such a beast and crushing girls. If I went in there and beat her, or even gave her a solid run for her money, it says a lot. I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it, but it’s not something that’s been discussed,” said Tate.
“I wouldn’t be against it.”