UFC: Dana White says Ronda Rousey v Cris Cyborg 'dream fight' still a possibility

UFC president Dana White hasn't ruled out the possibility of Ronda Rousey returning to the octagon to face Cris Cyborg. Photo / Getty
UFC president Dana White hasn't ruled out the possibility of Ronda Rousey returning to the octagon to face Cris Cyborg. Photo / Getty

We're not hearing much from Ronda Rousey these days, with no clear timetable for when she'll fight again, if, indeed, that is ever to happen.

Monday, however, brought some comments from UFC president Dana White that, while not offering specifics, held the promise of not only the MMA superstar's return to the Octagon but a long-awaited matchup with Cris "Cyborg" Justino.

"I think in a perfect world, what everybody would love to see is Ronda vs. Cyborg, so everybody is waiting - I'm sure Cyborg is, too - for the return of Ronda Rousey," White told Brazilian newspaper O Globo (via MMA Fighting).

"When she does return, I'm sure [Rousey is] going to want to fight for the title, probably defend it and then maybe fight Cyborg. I don't know. We'll see how this thing plays out."

In other words, White is envisioning a fight or two for Rousey before a showdown with Justino, including a shot at the UFC bantamweight champion.

That had been Rousey herself, who was undefeated until being stunned by Holly Holm in November; since then, the belt has quickly moved from Holm to Miesha Tate, to Amanda Nunes.

The rumor mill has Nunes facing Rousey at UFC 207 on Dec. 30, but White suggested that Justino could also take on her fellow Brazilian.

"The dream fight for Cyborg is obviously the Ronda Rousey fight," White said, "but there's other big names out there like Miesha Tate, Holly Holm and possibly - and I know Brazilians don't like seeing Brazilians fight - but possibly Amanda Nunes."

The catch is, well, a catchweight, because the UFC doesn't have a division for 145-pounders, Justino's preferred fighting weight. That has been a sticking point between her and Rousey in the past, with the latter insisting on Justino coming down to 135. White said that the UFC has no plans to add that division, but noted that a 125-pound division was a possibility.

When Justino, the Invicta featherweight champion, made her UFC debut in May, she defeated veteran Leslie Smith at a catchweight of 140 pounds, then wasted no time in calling out Rousey.

Tate has expressed an interest in taking on Justino and has appeared open to moving up five pounds to make it happen, a scenario for which the Brazilian has expressed great enthusiasm.

"I think that Cyborg has made it clear that she can't make 135 pounds," White told O Globo. "We do have a couple of really good girls at 135 that would like to fight Cyborg, that would like to move up and take that challenge."

"Cyborg is a huge star in the sport of mixed martial arts and in women's MMA. She mows people over very quickly and very violently," White said. "People are waiting to see her get challenged, and we're trying to challenge her. I think that when you talk about a headliner, somebody as big and as dominant and as scary as Cyborg is - she is a definite headliner - and obviously she is Brazilian, and she's a big star down there. She's a big star all over the world."

Rousey is an even bigger star, but at some point, she needs to get back into the Octagon before the MMA fan base, not to mention the wider sports world, simply moves on.

In the meantime, Justino will fight again this Saturday, against Lina Lansberg at UFC Fight Night 95 in Brasilia.

- Washington Post

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