Although Ronda Rousey has solidified herself as a UFC champion and a legitimate pay-per-view draw, questions about a superfight with Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos still linger.
But while a superfight between the two once seemed within the UFC's power to orchestrate, Cyborg is now a non-issue in her foe's career.
Most recently, UFC president Dana White summed up Cyborg as "irrelevant" (via MMA Weekly), stressing that his company was done dealing with the Brazilian.
Unsurprisingly, Rousey echoed similar sentiments in an interview with Sportsnet anchor Joe Ferraro during a recent media run. As the champion stated, Cyborg doesn't deserve special treatment when it's "obvious" that she can lose some muscle weight:
[Cyborg is] obviously not willing to go through the effort to go for the fight. Here's what it is. If you're pumped full of steroids and the lightest you can get it 145, then it's obvious the lightest you can get without steroids is lighter.Cyborg's weight issues and positive test for anabolic steroids in January 2012 have been consistent talking points for Rousey during the last couple of years. With the UFC just recently adopting a 135-pound women's division, the scrutiny has only increased.
She refuses to do that and it's just—I really don't know where this sense of entitlement comes from. She hasn't had a recorded win in over three years. I mean, there's so many other women. Look at Sara McMann. She's undefeated, a silver [Olympics] medalist wrestler...people like that are the people we should be looking forward to fighting.
As the champion has noted, Cyborg's supposed inability to drop weight hints at years of doping, with Rousey telling Inside MMA that Cyborg was "cheating for her entire career."
Hence, the UFC's first women's champion would only accept a superfight with Cyborg at the 135-pound bantamweight limit, with the UFC even preparing to enlist famed MMA nutritionist Mike Dolce to help the Brazilian shed her extra body weight.
But with no catchweight bout in sight and no women's featherweight division to accommodate Cyborg, she instead left the UFC under the advice of her new coach, retired UFC champion Tito Ortiz. However, Rousey states that Cyborg was owed nothing and deserved less:
We're not going to make exceptions and create divisions for someone who was a fraud and defamed the sport. [Cyborg] almost destroyed women's MMA. I mean, think about it. The entire sport stagnated under her and she cared more about having an unfair advantage and winning fights than she cared about the sport itself and it suffered under her.Rousey additionally put down the idea of a catchweight bout, stating that Cyborg had commonly gone into fights extremely overweight in the past.
We don't owe her anything. If she wants the only title that matters, she needs to go in the only division that the UFC has. We're not making exceptions for cheaters. She was exposed as a fraud. She needs to be the one to make the changes to clear her name.
As it stands, the former Strikeforce women's champions likely won't be facing each other any time in the near future.
Not only has UFC president Dana White dismissed the idea of Cyborg fighting for Rousey's title at 140 pounds (via MMA Junkie), but Cyborg also left the UFC on the advice of Ortiz while signing a multi-fight deal with Invicta FC.
Meanwhile, Rousey's own career will move forward—and her next No. 1 contender will likely be the winner of Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano, noted as the promotion's second-ever female fight. That match will take place as the co-main event of The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale on Apr. 13 at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center.
McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist and tech writer. His work has appeared in GamePro, Macworld, PC World, 1UP, NVision, The Los Angeles Times, FightFans Radio, MMA Mania and Bleacher Report. Talk with him on Twitter.