Cyborg explains why she didn't call out Ronda Rousey after UFC 198

May 15, 2016

Longtime women's MMA great Cris Cyborg put a beating on Leslie Smith on Saturday night at UFC 198 in her UFC debut, and many thought she wouldn't hesitate to call out growing rival and former women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

Instead, Cyborg reveled in the cheers from the home fans of Brazil, soaking in an experience she acknowledged was a life-long dream. And she wasn't going to let Rousey interrupt that moment.

"I believe it was my moment. Tonight was my moment, it was historic." Cyborg said when asked why she didn't call out Rousey. "I never thought I'd be sitting here tonight. I never thought I'd be here after everything I went through and it's a historic moment for me. Talking about her is something that people are going to talk about, but I let my fans decide on who my opponent will be and I just have to be ready."

Cyborg and Rousey have been linked since "Rowdy" won the UFC title in 2013. Cyborg has been considered the best female fighter in the world for more than a decade, so it makes sense that fans would be eager to see them clash.


However, Rousey was hesitant to engage in any talks of a fight because of the former Strikeforce champion's 2012 suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, and the insistence from Cyborg's camp that she couldn't make 135 pounds hurt the chances of the fight ever coming together.

Now, Cyborg successfully has cut the additional five pounds for her catchweight bout (140) against Smith, and made it to fight night without any flags under the UFC's stringent drug testing program run by USADA.

The rumors are sure to intensify after Saturday's victory, but Cyborg doesn't see herself leaving the women's featherweight division anytime soon.

"I've been training for two years to be able to make weight yesterday. And I felt very well tonight and I believe I can do other superfights, but I'm going to continue my weight class," she said. "I've been the champion for some time and I want female MMA to grow, and I don't think it's the right thing for me to abandon my weight class."  

Cyborg is committed to defending her 145-pound belt under the Invicta FC banner, despite the shallow pool of competitors in the division. Only time will tell if the right UFC offers will come along to convince Cyborg to drop the extra four pounds, or if any UFC women's bantamweights have the guts to face her at 140 pounds.