A champion vs. champion clash between Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes is coming closer to fruition.
It was Cyborg who added to her legacy Saturday night, making short work of newcomer Yana Kunitskaya in the main event of UFC 222 in Las Vegas to record her second consecutive successful defense of her women’s featherweight championship. Immediately after the win, Cyborg mentioned the oft-discussed bout with Nunes and she elaborated on the matter further at the evening’s post-fight presser.
“She’s going to fight now, defend her title belt in Brazil in May, I think, and then probably I’m going to fight in July if she wins and is the champion,” Cyborg said of Nunes, who is reported to be defending her own title, the women’s bantamweight championship, against Raquel Pennington at UFC 224 on May 12 in Rio de Janeiro. “And now she’s calling me out, I’m not calling Amanda out. She’s calling me out. And yeah, I could fight her in July.”
The Nunes-Pennington bout has not been made official and reports only materialized after talks between Nunes’s and Cyborg’s camps fizzled. Nunes recently said that the idea of fighting her fellow Brazilian is “not personal” and that she’d be open to a bout with Cyborg, whether it be in their home country or elsewhere.
UFC president Dana White also attended Saturday’s post-fight presser and he was enthusiastic about the idea of two of his top female stars meeting in the Octagon.
“(Cyborg)’s a beast,” White said. “The fight to make is her and Nunes. That’s the fight that needs to happen. Nunes wants the fight, she wants the fight, I want the fight, I’m sure the fans want to see it, too, so we’ll get that one going.”
Asked if he would go as far as to book the Nunes-Cyborg fight instead of Nunes-Pennington, White was amenable to the suggestion, but Cyborg herself isn’t as convinced.
“I don’t know, but for me I think it’s going to be too soon,” Cybort said in regards to the May date. “Because I’m going to Brazil and then I have a lot of things to do. I’m going to adopt and bring my niece with me, and it’s going to be at the end of March, and I accepted this fight (with Kunitskaya) because it’s the beginning of March and it [fit into] my plan. But I don’t know, let’s see, it’d be exciting.”
Cyborg couldn’t say how a fight with Nunes would compare to her previous challenges, but she showed respect for her fellow Brazilian and agreed that the timing could be right for their paths to cross soon.
“Amanda, she’s the champion at 135,” Cyborg said. “I respect her being the champion, but I don’t think she fight anybody like me, too. Then she’s going up to 145, I know she’s had a couple of fights at 145 before, but the one thing like I said, I never want to fight a Brazilian, but when I was the champion over in Strikeforce in my division, we never had the opportunity to fight each other because she was never getting close.
“Now she’s the champion at 135, she’s calling me out, OK, let’s do this fight. I’m gonna train and be ready and what she’s going to do for me, I don’t think about this. I just think about what I’m going to do to her.”