On Wednesday, Brazilian outlet Combate published a post they say was made through social media accounts by InvictaFC featherweight champion Cris "Cyborg" Justino. In the statement, Justino called out her bitter rival, UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey, saying, among other things, "Lorenzo signed me. I’m back and coming for you."
The "Lorenzo" mentioned was assumed to be UFC co-owner and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta. Later in the day, UFC president Dana White confirmed to "UFC Tonight" that Justino had signed a contract with the promotion prior to her last fight, a 46-second win over Charmaine Tweet on Feb. 28 in Los Angeles at InvictaFC 11.
That win took place in the same city and just the day before Rousey beat Cat Zingano in an even quicker bout in the main event at UFC 184. Afterward, White claimed ignorance and generally played coy when the question of whether "Cyborg" was a signed UFC athlete.
Now, the cat is out of the bag. However, a Rousey vs. "Cyborg" fight still has some obstacles.
For one, Rousey is set to fight Bethe Correira next, on Aug. 1 at UFC 190. Also, Justino will next fight July 10, defending her InvictaFC 145-pound title.
After that, the terms of her UFC contract stipulate that the Brazilian must first make the 135-pound bantamweight title weight limit and compete at that class in InvictaFC. If Justino does that, and presumably wins, she would then get to fight in the UFC.
All that likely would take us into 2016. For the fight to happen then, Rousey and Justino must continue to win, and Justino must make and compete at a weight she previously has said might endanger her life.
That said, the UFC finally signing "Cyborg" lets us know that the is promotion is trying hard to make the fight with Rousey happen, and that we’re closer to seeing it than ever before.