The Fight to Make

Cristiane “Cyborg” JustinoIn the world of mixed martial arts there are a lot of talks about “super fights.” Most of the talk had been centered around Anderson Silva fighting current UFC welterweight champion George St. Pierre. Then, after the continued rise of current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, the super fight talk revolved around Silva vs. Jones. After Anderson was knocked out by the new middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC 162, all talk of those possible fights came to a screeching halt.

Still,there is one super fight that is just as compelling, Cyborg vs. Rousey.

When talking about Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, there a lot of opinions about her legacy. Cyborg failed a drug test after her Strikeforce fight with Hiroko Yamanaka in December, 2011, and all of her critics seemed to be validated in their belief that she had been using steroids for her entire career. Justino’s victory was overturned to a “no contest” by the CSAC, she was suspended for a year, fined $2,500, stripped of her Strikeforce featherweight title and subsequently cut by the promotion. The failed drug test tarnished her reputation and, in many pundit’s eyes, negated anything she had done in her career. Still, Cyborg has done almost everything there is to do in wmma…almost. She was the first to headline a major mma promotion’s card. She fought the popular and always tough Gina Carano to win the inaugural Strikeforce women’s featherweight title. On July 13, 2013, she became the first Invicta FC featherweight champion. Yet, with all of these accomplishments there is still one unanswered question that keeps the mma world buzzing. Can she beat the current UFC women’s bantamweight champion and #1 ranked female fighter in the world, Ronda Rousey?

In the world of women’s mixed martial arts, there are no two bigger names than Rousey and Cyborg. They do not even need to be mentioned by their birth names to be recognized. One simply needs to refer to “Cyborg” and we know who you are talking about. When mentioning “Rowdy”, we automatically think of Ronda Rousey. When we talk of “superfights”, there is no bigger fight to make in all of mma than “Cyborg vs. “Rowdy.” As we have seen in the last few weeks, these potentially big money fights that pit the #1 and #2 fighters in the world to settle who is actually the best, those superfights can easily be dissipated with one hungry challenger. This is mma, and anything can happen.

While a huge pay-per-view fight between Cristiane and Ronda is the only option at a champion vs. champion fight at the current moment, there are a few hurdles to overcome before this epic battle can materialize.

First and foremost is Ronda’s title fight against former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion, fellow TUF coach and nemesis Miesha Tate. The two will square off on December 28th, 2013 with the UFC women’s bantamweight title hanging in the balance. Rousey beat Tate in March of 2012 to capture the Strikeforce title via armbar in the first round. Even though the potential fight between Justino and Rousey is what all of the fans want to see, Rousey’s fight with Tate is not simply a formality. As evidenced in Miesha’s August, 2012 fight with Julie Kedzie, Tate is as tough ans talented as they come. Kedzie dominated fight for the first 2+ rounds before Miesha was able to pull off the victory via armbar at 3:28 of the third and final round. Tate was rocked early on in that fight with a well timed headkick by Kedzie and then brutally battered through the next 2 ½ rounds. Even after being pummeled by her opponent, Miesha was able to collect her faculties and show her champion’s heart by pulling out the late submission. Never look past Tate. She could be the X factor in all of this. Rousey is not looking past her, and neither should we.

The second issue is that of what weight Rousey and Justino would take place. Will it be at 135lbs or at a catchweight? The substance that “Cyborg” tested positive for is a steroid called stanozolol that aids in “cutting weight.” The anabolic steroid is usually used to cut weight by preserving lean body mass while losing fat. Justino has repeated several times that she has trouble making the 145lb limit and she has come in heavy for fights before. Another issue for “Cyborg” is that she doesn’t want to ruin her chances of bearing children in the future and putting that much stress on her body could prevent her from getting pregnant if/when she decides to have children. Ronda has stated that champions do not make exceptions for a challenger. If Justino wants to take a possible fight with Ronda, it appears at this moment that Justino will need to make the bantamweight limit of 135lbs. A catchweight of 140lbs has been discussed, but Justino has clearly stated that she doesn’t think she can even make 140lbs.

This “super fight” between the two best female fighters in the world is one that fans and the brass at UFC parent company Zuffa, LLC are clamoring to see. This fight would make the promotion and both fighters millions of dollars in pay-per-view revenue alone.

Since Chris Weidman put the kybosh on any super fights in the near future, we need to see the Rousey vs. Cyborg fight ASAP. Both women are at the top of their games, they are both big names with world class skills and they would put on an epic show for us rabid fans. The hype for this fight would be justified by the performance of these fighters, but the significant hurdles that have plagued potential super fights in the past must be dealt with first. I, for one, would love to see who the true #1 female fighter in the world is. Not only do fans deserve to see this fight, the UFC needs this fight to happen. We might feel a little bit cheated if this fight does not happen. God forbid.

Thank you and stay safe

Randy Casjens

Twitter- @SavageRandy

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