Just seconds after Germaine de Randamie was crowned the first ever UFC women’s featherweight champion, Cris “Cyborg” Justino was shown on camera with a smile on her face while sitting cage side just a few feet away from the action in the Octagon.
Cyborg has been the reigning queen at 145-pounds for the better part of a decade after decimating any and all opponents who stepped into the cage with her during stints with several different promotions including Strikeforce and Invicta FC.
Most recently, Cyborg finally made her UFC debut while competing at 140-pounds, but now the promotion has made a division specifically with her in mind. Unfortunately due to the rigorous weight cuts involved with getting down to 140-pounds, Cyborg was unable to accept a fight with de Randamie or Holly Holm at UFC 208.
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Regardless of who is wearing the title right now, Cyborg sent a strong statement to de Randamie in a conversation with FOX Sports that with or without a UFC belt, she’s still the best women’s fighter on the planet.
“Until someone beats me I am No. 1 in the world no matter what belt is around my waist.”
There’s little doubt that Cyborg has earned her position at the top of the featherweight division, but she still had to sit and watch two other fighters battle for the inaugural belt at 145-pounds in the UFC.
Because she was unable to take the fight on the proposed date, Cyborg says it wasn’t difficult to sit and watch de Randamie and Holm battle for the title but clearly she knows that a championship belt doesn’t necessarily make you the best fighter in the world.
“I was not ready to fight Feb.11th. Germaine is a great fighter and a win over Holly only helps increase her star power,” Cyborg said. “It wasn’t disappointing to be sitting cage side, I was excited because the UFC has made the division. I am ranked No. 1 in the world at 145-pounds and feel confident the fans know that too.”
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The title fight at UFC 208 on Saturday night was a closely contested bout with de Randamie edging out Holm after five rounds. Afterwards, Holm stated that she thought she deserved the win, but Cyborg actually agrees with the judges’ decision the way it was rendered at the event with de Randamie being awarded the victory.
“I had Germaine de Randamie winning. It was a close fight but the damage done by significant strikes by de Randamie made the difference in my opinion,” Cyborg said. “Holly needed to chain her wrestling transitions better to get that takedowns.”
Once the fight was over, de Randamie was immediately asked about a fight with Cyborg, who is undoubtedly the top contender in the division whenever she returns to action. While de Randamie stated that she’s headed for hand surgery to fix some existing ligament damage, she welcomed the chance to face Cyborg in the Octagon to defend her title.
Clearly, Cyborg welcomes that chance as well.
“It’s an exciting matchup,” Cyborg said about the proposed fight with de Randamie. “My team has been watching her for awhile and I feel confident they see opportunities to exploit her weaknesses in MMA.”
On Saturday night after de Randamie said that she was headed for surgery, Cyborg even turned her attention to Invicta FC interim featherweight champion Megan Anderson, who is another top contender who is likely to receive looks from the UFC as they continue to bolster the new division.
Cyborg suggests that if de Randamie isn’t ready to fight soon that she would gladly welcome Anderson to the UFC with a matchup at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June.
“I am ready to enter fight camp now. If [de Randamie] is injured and can’t fight I would like a chance to fight Megan Anderson,” Cyborg said. “She is an interim champion for the belt I own and calling out fighters in the UFC.
“It only makes sense if [de Randamie] is not ready to fight that the UFC would offer her a contract and a chance to fight me on the biggest stage, inside the UFC octagon. I think it would be a great addition to the June event in Rio if she’s ready to fight.”
Right now, Cyborg is still provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned substance from an out-of-competition sample collected by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) but she is currently in the process of applying for a retroactive therapeutic use exemption for the drug that was administered by her physician.
White recently spoke about the issue and sounded positive that Cyborg would hopefully be cleared to return to action sooner rather than later. Obviously with the legalities surrounding the proceedings, Cyborg couldn’t speak about the ongoing situation but sounded hopeful that she would be able to resume her career in the near future.
“I needed to give my body time to recover from my past two weight cuts. I’ve given my body a proper off season allowing it to recover and am ready to start training camp soon,” Cyborg revealed.
“My USADA situation is still ongoing and at this time I have no comment, but am hopeful my lawyer and doctors will resolve this and are cooperating fully with USADA.”
Finally, Cyborg was asked for a statement to send to de Randamie, who will more than likely be her targeted opponent when she’s cleared to return to the UFC.