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Morning Report: Cris Cyborg, boxing champ Cecilia Braekhus angling to fight one another 

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With that latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC may be finally committing to opening up a women’s featherweight division – too bad their champion, Cris Cyborg, might not be sticking around to see it.

Cris Cyborg only has two fights left on her UFC contract and when that’s done, she says she intends to step away from MMA to pursue her dream of boxing professionally.

“Of course, I need time for training,” Cyborg told Kevin Iole while sitting ringside in a “Cyborg vs. Braekhus, 2019” shirt at HBO Boxing’s Saturday night event featuring female welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus. “I think 4-6 months training. That would be perfect since I have two fights left in MMA and then I can focus on boxing. I’m very excited.

“After these fights, I will do a boxing fight. After these two fights left. Maybe I’ll come back but not for now. I want to use this time and make more boxing fights. This is my dream.”

Cyborg has long been one of the most feared strikers in MMA but only made the transition to the UFC in 2016 after years of feuding with President Dana White. She won the vacant featherweight title last year and has defended it twice, most recently in March against Yana Kunitskaya.

While she says she plans on devoting herself fully to boxing once this contract with the UFC is over, with the potential to return to MMA at some future point, she also says she’d be willing to work with the UFC if it wanted to allow her to box and retain the women’s 145-pound belt.

“I would like to work with them. If the UFC works it and I can do boxing fights and still have the belt and come back like McGregor did, let’s see,” said Cyborg.

Cyborg says the interest in boxing comes from a desire to “challenge myself” but without a developed featherweight division. The UFC has had to scramble to find challengers for her, pulling fighters up from their 135-pound division to fill in. In boxing though, Cyborg will have no such issues as Braekhus – the unified welterweight champion and widely considered to be one of the best female boxers alive – says she’d love to fight Cyborg and that a fight between the two of them would at least be more competitive than Conor McGregor’s foray into the sweet science.

“That is one option, absolutely,” said Braekhus after her bout on Saturday (courtesy of FightHub TV). “I was very surprised – I saw [Cyborg’s] fight against Holly Holm, the former number-one pound-for-pound boxer in the world and she was really giving her competition on the striking game. Yes, that kind of tickled me for a fight against Cyborg. I know she’s very interested in that. She’s texting me and writing me, she really wants to do this and if we can get it done, sure. I think it would be a spectacular thing to do.

“I think she’s actually a better striker than McGregor so I think that would be a much more competitive fight than Mayweather-McGregor also.”

Cyborg has previously spent some time with Braekhus as well as U.S. Olympic gold medalist boxer Claressa Shields. She also, as Braekhus mentioned, dominated a mostly striking bout against former two-time Ring Magazine Female Fighter of the Year, Holly Holm, in December. But perhaps the biggest incentive – moreso than level of competition or challenging oneself – is the presumed paycheck that will come with a crossover bout of this stature. Braekus’ promoter Tom Loeffler summed it up thusly, saying that it would be a “huge fight,” especially in Braekhus’ home country of Norway.

“Now you’re hitting on a fight where the financial expectations actually can generate some interest,” said Loeffler. “Cecilia will tell you that she’s been in contact with Cyborg. . .

“She came to generate some publicity for that fight. They have a mutual respect. If there’s a way to try to make that work, I know in Norway that would be a huge fight. Cyborg, with what she’s doing in the octagon and UFC, would definitely compliment where Cecilia’s at in her career.”

First, Cyborg would have to finish out her UFC contract though, and though she does not currently have a return date from the UFC, she did say that possible opponents would be Amanda Nunes or the winner of the Holly Holm-Megan Anderson fight at UFC 225 this summer.

“I really don’t know when they’re gonna make my next fight,” said Cyborg. “Let’s see Holly Holm against Megan Anderson, and after let’s see if Amanda is going to accept the fight or not. She just made 135. I don’t know if she’s gonna fight soon.”


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Results. Rizin FF 10 results: Horiguchi knocks out Ian McCall in nine seconds.

Fight. Scott Coker says he’d ‘love’ to make ‘Rampage’ Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva in 2018.

Rematch? Chad Mendes would like another crack at Frankie Edgar.

Damage. Justin Gaethje admits taking damage ‘is a concern’ following consecutive KO losses.


VIDEO STEW

Invicta highlight.

Bellator Countdown.

Get hype about the Pico train.

Learn some things.

Nunes went on Jenny McCarthy’s show.

Anderson on Khabib.


LISTEN UP

Severe MMA. Discussing UFC 224, Bellator 199, and Rixin 10.

Beatdown After the Bell. Immediate post-fight reaction to Invicta 29.

Middle Easy Fist Fight. An interview with UFC welterweight Randy Brown.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Taking it on the chin.

Beef.

Call out.

Bisping was just popular this weekend.

Seriously popular.

And these two were going at it too.

Overly aggressive.

Super gnarly.

A post shared by Julia Avila (@ragingpandamma) on May 4, 2018 at 8:03pm PDT

King Mo channeling his inner Kimbo.

I miss ref cam.

Coach.

Unreal.

Savage.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

1999: At UFC 20, Bas Rutten won a controversial split decision over Kevin Randleman to win the UFC heavyweight championship. This event also featured the first UFC win of Wanderlei Silva’s career, a knockout victory over Tony Petarra.

2016: Tonya Evinger won a unanimous decision over Coleen Schneider at Invicta 17 to retain her bantamweight championship. In the co-main event, Angela Hill won the strawweight title with a split decision over Livia Renata Souza.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Kyoji Horiguchi is awesome and it’s super cool that the UFC decided it didn’t want to re-sign him considering he’s would be the front runner to take over for DJ if and when he retires. Glad we’re never gonna get that rematch.

Hope y’all enjoyed the fights this weekend. The UFC is back this weekend and they’re being counter-programmed by Bellator on Saturday night so it’s a big week. Buckle up.


EXIT POLL


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.




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