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Morning Report: Dana White: If Holly Holm beats Cris Cyborg, how can you argue she’s not the greatest of all-time?

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On Saturday evening, one of the biggest fights in WMMA history will take place when Cris Cyborg defends her UFC women’s featherweight title against former bantamweight champion Holly Holm. But according to UFC President Dana White, the UFC 219 main event has more on the line than just the 145-pound title, it’s also a fight that with major implications for the legacies of both women.

On Thursday, White went on FS1’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd, to discuss the upcoming title fight, saying that this is the biggest fight in both women’s careers, especially Holm who White says will earn the title of “Greatest Female Fighter of All Time” with a win.

“This is the biggest fight of her career,” White said. “This is the true test for Cris Cyborg. If you look at Holly Holm: 13-time world boxing champion, multiple time kickboxing champion, beat Ronda Rousey and won the UFC title. Now Holm is moving up to 145 pounds and she’s actually a real 145-pounder – she’s tall, she’s big, she’s thick.

“[And] if Holly Holm wins this weekend, how can you argue that she’s not the greatest fighter of all time – female fighter?”

Holm was an accomplished professional boxer and kickboxer who then made the jump to MMA and eventually won the UFC bantamweight title in epic fashion, dethroning the seemingly invincible Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. Now, Holm has a second opportunity to play spoiler and win a title by defeating an opponent that many think is unbeatable.

But the stakes are high for Cyborg as well. The UFC women’s featherweight champion is widely considered to be one of the best fighters on the planet but her legacy among the all-time greats has been substantially impeded by competing in a division without a plethora of talented fighters for her to fight. Instead, Cyborg has spent much of the prime of her career fighting whoever she could, which has resulted in many fights against much smaller and less accomplished foes. In Holm, Cyborg is fighting one of the most accomplished fighters she has ever faced and a win would be a huge boost to her resume, especially considering Holm is one of the few fighters who can match Cyborg’s athleticism and striking ability. For White, this all adds up to one of the most significant fights in the women’s MMA.

“For Cris Cyborg, to win this fight, obviously it’s a big fight for her,” White said. “I think Holly Holm is her first real, true test. As far as the fight goes, Cyborg is a very aggressive fighter, knockout puncher, likes to move forward, aggressive and Holly Holm is a counterpuncher. She’s a great counterpuncher, and I actually expect this to be a great fight.”

UFC 219 will feature Cris Cyborg’s first defense of her women’s featherweight title; it will also be Holm’s second attempt at the belt, coming up short against Germaine de Randamie at UFC 208 earlier this year, losing a close unanimous decision.


MUST-READ STORIES

Good luck. Bellator parts ways with long-time commentator Jimmy Smith.

Hope. Dana White hopes Conor McGregor will return next summer to fight Tony Ferguson.

145. Khabib Nurmagomedov hints as possible drop to featherweight in the future.

Staying put. Cris Cyborg has backed off her plan to retire from MMA in 2018.

Farewell. Nate Marquardt announced his retirement from MMA.


VIDEO STEW

Embedded.

Dana on Skip and Shannon.

Feel good story.

Agree or disagree?

This man is back in our lives this weekend.


LISTEN UP

The MMA Circus. UFC 219 and Rizin FF previews.

Middle Easy. Discussing the upcoming UFC 219 and UFC 220 fight cards.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Statement.

Oluwale still going at it.

There are a ton of Tweets like this.

And other fighters are starting to get confused.

Confidence.

Nate Marquardt had one hell of a career.

Could Forrest be preparing for a comeback?

Cus why wouldn’t you practice a weight cut.

A post shared by Forrest (@forrestgriffin) on Dec 28, 2017 at 8:24pm PST

The Year of the Knee.

Gnarly.

Wanderlei and the Noodle Cup.

#goals.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Michel Prazeres (23-2) vs. Desmond Green (20-6); UFC Belem, Feb. 3.

Israel Adesanya (11-0) vs. Rob Wilkinson (11-1); UFC 221, Feb. 10.

Stefan Struve (28-9) vs. Andrei Arlovski (26-15, 1 NC); UFC 222, March 3.

Sean O’Malley (9-0) vs. Andre Soukhamthath (12-5); UFC 222, March 3.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2007: Georges St-Pierre won the UFC interim welterweight title, submitting Matt Hughes in their trilogy fight at UFC 79. In the co-main event, the MMA world finally got the fight they’d wanted for years with Chuck Liddell winning a unanimous decision over Wanderlei Silva.

2012: Cain Velasquez reclaimed the UFC heavyweight title, winning a unanimous decision over Junior dos Santos in their rematch at UFC 155.


FINAL THOUGHTS

And UFC 219 is upon us, along with another long weekend. I hope y’all enjoy the fights and ringing in the 2018. Remember, be responsible and see y’all on Tuesday.


EXIT POLL


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




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