Cris "Cyborg" Justino has wanted the UFC to introduce a women’s featherweight title for years, but when the promotion finally made the offer recently, she turned down the fight.
This news comes courtesy of UFC president Dana White, who revealed on the latest "UFC Unfiltered" podcast that Cyborg was actually offered a pair of title fights at 145-pounds but declined the opportunity.
"What’s crazy about that is this — I offered Cris Cyborg a title fight at 145-pounds a month ago. She had eight weeks to get ready for it. She said she couldn’t make the weight, said she couldn’t make 145-pounds," White said. "So then I offered her another 145-pound title fight for Brooklyn — she turned it down.
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"She turned down two 145-pound title fights. One because she said she couldn’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks and Joe Silva’s like ‘if she can’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks, 145 isn’t the right weight class for her either.""
White didn’t confirm the first date offered to Cyborg although sources indicated to FOX Sports that the bout would have likely been at the originally scheduled UFC 208 event in Anaheim, Calif. on Jan. 21.
That show was eventually rescheduled for August with UFC 208 then shifting to Brooklyn, New York on Feb. 11. White says they then offered Cyborg a second opportunity to fight for the gold at the new UFC 208 card but she turned that date down as well.
"First we offered her the fight against Holly Holm and then we offered her the fight against Germaine (de Randamie)," White revealed. "We offered her 145-pound title shot, she had eight weeks to get ready for it and she said that’s not enough time to make the weight, I can’t make the weight in eight weeks."
When asked why Cyborg declined to accept the second bout offered against de Randamie, White says she didn’t have a valid reason.
"There is no excuse," White said. "She just turned the fight down."
FOX Sports confirmed with sources close to de Randamie’s camp that she was offered the fight with Cyborg for the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight title, but obviously judging by White’s statement, the bout isn’t going to happen now.
Just recently, Cyborg had said that she was going to leave the UFC if the promotion didn’t introduce a women’s featherweight division and it appears the organization was ready to cater to her demands.
"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, whatever and get you in the mix, get you a couple of fights with these girls and fight Ronda for the title and she was all in. That’s why she signed the deal," White said. "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 (expletive) it, all right we’ll make 145-pound title for you and here we go. She said ‘I can’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks’. I said OK, then we offered her the fight in Brooklyn and she turned that one down, too."
Cyborg later sent out a statement via MMAFighting that explained in detail that she turned down the fights specifically because of her health following a disastrous weight cut surrounding her last bout against Lina Lansberg in September.
"I’m dealing with severe depression and can’t have another brutal weight cut like before," Cyborg said. "This decision is more important than the belt or the division, I’m thinking about my health."
Cyborg added that she would be ready to fight again at 145 pounds in March, but there’s no word on whether or not the UFC will extend the same offer at that time.