The UFC has more than a couple superfights that never came together for one reason or another. Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre. Randy Couture vs. Fedor Emelianenko. And now that Ronda Rousey has left mixed martial arts for good, we can add Rousey vs. Cyborg to the list.
Cris Cyborg had already established herself at the top of women’s mixed martial arts when Ronda the Olympic medalist came along and quickly became a star. Dana White once said women would never fight in the UFC, but after Ronda Rousey appeared his attitude quickly changed. When the UFC bought and absorbed Strikeforce, they upgraded Rousey’s women’s bantamweight belt into a UFC belt. As for Cris Cyborg? She spent the next few years competing for feeder league Invicta because the UFC wasn’t interested in a women’s featherweight division.
That 10 pound weight difference between the two was the often-repeated reason why Rousey refused to fight Cyborg. Cyborg went so far as to cut down to 140 pounds twice (damaging her endocrine in the process) in the hopes of landing a catchweight fight with Ronda. Still, it never happened. So it’s no surprise that Cyborg was pulling no punches when asked why things never worked out.
When asked if she thought Ronda was afraid of her, Cyborg simply replied “Yes.”
“She didn’t do the fight that a lot of fans would have liked to watch, it’s like two million pay-per-views, for sure the people are going to make this fight,” Cyborg said on the Jim Rome Show. “And a lot of fans would like to see this, but I think she just used my name to grow her name. Before she was the UFC champion, I was already champion and I think she just used this. And when you see her fight Holly [Holm] and Amanda [Nunes], you see why she ran from me. She didn’t want to fight me, for sure.”
Unfortunately, there’s no turning back the clock on this one. Rousey’s time in mixed martial arts is up. The other women in the division leveled up and figured her out. Cris Cyborg, meanwhile, never stopped improving and still holds a legit claim as the best female fighter on the planet. After the thrashings Rousey took in her last two UFC fights, there are few that would say a fight between the two at this point would be competitive.
That’s too bad for Cyborg, who missed out on the biggest payday of her career when Rousey left MMA for WWE. So that’s probably why she’ll continue to trash Rousey during interviews when she came up. Maybe in hermind, it makes up for her never getting to do it in the cage.