It seems inevitable that UFC champions Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes will fight in 2018, but the back and forth on the date and location bothers the featherweight queen.
Coming off a first-round finish over Yana Kunitskaya in March, improving to 5-0 in the UFC, Cyborg was hoping to fight around September, but Nunes has already announced on social media that she has signed a contract to face Cyborg on Dec. 29.
Unhappy with the possibility of fighting only twice in 2018, Cyborg unloaded on Nunes’ request to push back the date of the superfight and suggested she’s willing to face a featherweight contender before taking on the fellow Brazilian on the final card of the year.
”Amanda has talked a bunch of stuff, saying she couldn’t fight, that she was injured and would take her six months to recover,” Cyborg told MMA Fighting. “She challenged me in January and said she’s injured and needs some time. Ok, fine, but I’m a champion in my division and I’m always fighting.
”She’s used to fighting only once a year, but I’m ready to fight now. It’s been four months since my last fight, and I’m ready. There’s no excuse. ‘Oh, but there aren’t opponents for you.’ There are. If you look out there, there are. I’ve always fought in Invicta and always had opponents.”
Speaking with Brazilian outlet Combate in Calgary, where she helped her girlfriend Nina Ansaroff prepare for UFC on FOX 30, Nunes said she’s busy with work and can’t fight at September’s UFC 228 card.
”If you watch her interviews, it’s like she’s going out on vacation,” Cyborg said. “My job is fighting. I want to fight. I don’t want to stay out for almost a year in my prime. I think it’s disrespectful. … Dana (White) took Colby Covington’s belt. He won that belt two months ago and was stripped because (Tyron) Woodley wants to fight and he’s injured. How about me, who wants to fight? She challenged me six months ago and still needs six months? She said she’s going to travel with her girlfriend. No problem with that, but I’m ready to fight. A champion must be ready at all times. I want to fight now, and when she’s ready we can fight.”
”It’s no secret that the UFC doesn’t promote Brazilians,” she continued. “Ketlen Vieira will fight Tonya Evinger now. She has 10 straight wins and should be fighting for the belt. OK, Amanda wants to move up, so she deserves an interim belt in Sao Paulo against a ranked girl. She’s fighting Tonya Evinger, who’s not even ranked in the UFC, in a non-title fight. Why are they doing that? Because they will do Holly Holm with someone else for the interim belt. I’m almost positive of that. But that’s not right with Ketlen Vieira, who is ranked. You see what happened with ‘Jacare’ (Souza) and Demian Maia… But that doesn’t even frustrate me anymore.
”With my fans helping me, I think I can fight sooner. It’s not fair to have me sidelined in my prime because Amanda wants to go out on vacation. I’m the champion for 10 years, before the UFC had women fighting. I’m the champion and that’s how I make a living. We only get paid when we fight, and I’ll stay out for almost a year waiting for Amanda.”
When — of if — the superfight happens, will it be Cyborg’s biggest challenge in recent years?
”I don’t think so,” Cyborg said. “I saw her last fight in Brazil, with Raquel Pennington. Raquel was out for two years and I thought Amanda would do a different fight. I don’t know. She can surprise, we don’t know, but based on what I saw in her last fight, I don’t see much. She has the quality for that, to put on a great fight, and that’s what I hope for.”
”Amanda has many qualities, has beaten a lot of girls, but she hasn’t fought a girl like me,” she continued. “In fact, she used to fight in my weight class and didn’t have much success. If she had success we would have fought already, right? Moving up [in weight], I believe it’s a tough fight because she like to move forward, but I see that Amanda doesn’t handle pressure. She puts pressure, but can’t handle the pressure back.
”When I put pressure, she will feel it. You see in my fights, when you pressure me I come back with even more pressure. You saw her fight with Cat Zingano. I don’t think she can take the pressure. But I believe it will be a great fight.”
Cyborg wants to get back in action so bad that she’s willing to defend her featherweight crown in a Fight Night card, like the one scheduled for Sept. 22 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
”If the only option is Sao Paulo, I want to fight,” she said. “Fans will love watching me fight in Sao Paulo. It can be on a smaller card. I just want to fight.”
Cyborg’s UFC contract is soon to expire, and she has mentioned in the past that the Nunes fight could very well be her last appearance in the UFC if it really happens at UFC 232.
The featherweight champion is not against signing a new deal when she becomes a free agent, but wants to know what’s best for her.
”It’s the difficulty of working together,” Cyborg said of why she considers not re-signing the UFC right away. “I want to see which options I got. I want to see the options. I like to fight where people respect me. I like my job and I think it’s disrespectful to stay out for almost a year in my prime.”