Dana White has revealed Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino has turned down two dates to contest a new women’s featherweight championship crown in the Octagon, and now accepts he doesn’t know what comes next for the Brazilian standout.
It’s been one of the stories of the year. Invicta featherweight champion Cyborg finally fought in the UFC, proved she’s a bonafide draw and certainly ‘moves the needle’. However, due to her inability to make the 135lb bantamweight limit, it’s left the UFC no choice but to make catchweight fights at 140lbs.
This lead to a call to action from Planet MMA for the UFC to introduce a women’s featherweight division so Cyborg can fight at a healthy 145lb. And according to the UFC president that offer has been put on the table twice, and twice declined.
“What’s crazy about that is, I offered Cris Cyborg a title fight at 145lb a month ago,” White said on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. “She had eight weeks to get ready for it, she said she couldn’t make the weight, said she couldn’t make 145lb.
“So then I offered her another 145lb title fight for Brooklyn and she turned it down. She turned down two 145lb title fights. One because she said she couldn’t make 145lb in eight weeks, and (matchmaker) Joe Silva was like, ‘If she can’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks, 145 isn’t the right weight class for her either.’”
Following White’s revelations, Cyborg reacted to MMA Fighting and gave her side of the story, insisting she would need a 12-week camp to make 145lb following the affects on her health the previous weight cuts had had for her last two UFC bouts.
“You can see that I give no interviews after the fight,” Cyborg read. “I told UFC Brazil PR Lilian (Caparroz) that I wanted to cancel all my interviews and couldn’t travel. After all that, at home, I decided I would not fight at this weight anymore, that I would only fight at my division. And only with 12 weeks’ notice.
“For my last fight, they told me eight weeks before. I got a call from the UFC offering me another catchweight fight, and I said I would not fight at this weight anymore. I needed a break to get my health back to normal because my body was weak, I was anaemic. After that, they invited me to fight again, but this time at my weight and for the belt, but with 10 weeks’ notice.
“Knowing that I was recovering, like I said, I told them I can fight anyone in March, but I need to take care of my body, and no mention of the fact that I’m dealing with severe depression and can’t have another brutal weight cut like before. This decision is more important than the belt or the division, I’m thinking about my health.”
White, however, believes it has nothing to do with weight cutting issues and said the UFC offered to provide her with a dietician to help her make the weight. Despite this current stumbling block the UFC president still feels they will be able to work it out.
White added: “First of all, obviously when we did the deal with Cyborg we sat down with her and said, ‘Listen, if you can make it down to 135 pounds, maybe we can hire a dietician and help you get there and get in the mix, get you a couple of fights with these girls and then fight Ronda for the title,’ and she was all in. That’s why she signed the deal.
“Then she was having a hard time doing it, so she cut down to 140, then this whole thing about, ‘I can’t make 140 pounds.’ Finally, we just said, ‘f**k it, alright then, we’ll make a 145lb title for you,’ and here we go. She said, ‘I can’t make 145lb in eight weeks.’ This doesn’t have to do with weight. Obviously it has nothing to do with weight cutting. I don’t know what it has to do with, so we’re gonna figure it out.”