Cris Cyborg erupts after UFC makes featherweight title fight without her
There's no one in the sport of mixed martial arts who wouldn't rank Cris "Cyborg" Justino as the best 145-pound women's fighter on the planet yet she's not competing for the inaugural featherweight title in the UFC.
Instead, the promotion put former bantamweight champion Holly Holm against Germaine de Randamie in a title fight at UFC 208 to crown the first ever champion at 145 pounds.
UFC president Dana White revealed last week that he offered Cyborg two different opportunities to compete for the belt at UFC 208, which was originally scheduled in January and then again at what was UFC 209 in Brooklyn in February, but she turned down both fights.
In reality, Cyborg says she only asked for a slightly later date in March to allow her body to recover after suffering through a brutal weight cut for her last fight in the UFC where she competed at 140 pounds.
Now with the title fight scheduled for Feb. 11, Cyborg believes this decision is nothing more than a personal slight to her by White, who she believes has always held a grudge against her.
"It's no surprise to me, it has always been personal between Dana and me," Cyborg said in a statement sent to FOX Sports. "I agreed to fight Holly at UFC Brasilia (in March) and had no problem fighting her for the first belt, I just asked them to give me a date in March.
"Dana White spent 10 years telling fans there was no one for me to fight, but now he finds a girl who is 0-2 and another who hasn't fought at 145 (pounds) in half a decade to fight for the belt, instead of waiting to promote the fight when I'm healthy."
It's hard to argue with Cyborg's logic given the fight that was ultimately made to crown the first ever women's champion at 145 pounds in the UFC.
Holm is returning to action after losing her last two fights at bantamweight while de Randamie is a legitimate threat, but has spent almost her entire career competing at 135 pounds.
Still, the title fight was seemingly made out of necessity with the UFC still searching for a main event to headline the first ever card in Brooklyn on Feb. 11. Several fights have been rumored for the event, but with tickets on sale in a matter of days there was no headline bout scheduled.
A featherweight title fight between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway is potentially in the works, but there has still been no agreement made between the promotion and the fighters to make that bout official.
Regardless of the reasoning, Cyborg believes this is just another attempt to usurp her claim as the top featherweight fighter in the world — a spot she's held uncontested for the better part of the eight years.
"This was a personal decision about Dana White not wanting to promote me," Cyborg said. "If my last fight was at 145 (pounds) I would not have needed the extra time for recovery."