Cris Cyborg does not want to be labeled as the “face of women’s MMA”, amid Ronda Rousey’s absence.
Just four years ago, Ronda Rousey broke into the mainstream and made women’s mixed martial arts a major attraction among fight fans. But after two consecutive brutal losses in 2015 and 2016, she is suddenly out of the picture, with the possibility of never setting foot in the UFC Octagon ever again.
With Rousey now gone, former rival Cris Cyborg is now likely to be the new face of women’s MMA, especially if she emerges victorious over Tonya Evinger at UFC 214 to become the UFC’s undisputed women’s featherweight champion. But for Cyborg, such a distinction is not really necessary.
“I believe women’s MMA can’t have just one face, there are several athletes in the promotion. What happened was, they made Ronda the face of (women’s) MMA and she lost twice and doesn’t want to come back. It’s not about one face only. When you make it about one face and she leaves, you miss it,” Cyborg said during a media scrum on Tuesday (via MMA Fighting).
“We have several athletes, it can’t be just one person being the face of (women’s) MMA,” Cyborg continued. “I will represent every woman with my belt there, just like every woman in the UFC represent every MMA fighter. It’s bad when you make one person the face of (women’s) MMA.”
As of this posting, UFC 214 will be headlined by the grudge title rematch between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones. It is one of three title fights featured on the card, which takes place on July 29th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.