Former Invicta FC featherweight champion Cris Cyborg faces an uncertain future in the UFC, as her contract is almost complete.
We’re still waiting for the first defense of the UFC women’s featherweight title, which was won by Germaine de Randamie against Holly Holm at UFC 208. With Holm going back down to 135, de Randamie and Cris Cyborg are the only two women’s 145 lbs fighters under UFC contract, so you would figure that it’d be the next fight to make.
On Cyborg’s part, she tweeted on Tuesday that she’s fighting de Randamie at UFC 214 in Anaheim on July 29th.
#ufc214 I’m excited to fight in my backyard with my USA home crowd against @IronLadyMMA! @JonnyBones on #ufcanaheim is just a bonus! #letsgo
— #UFC214 #LetsGoChamp (@criscyborg) April 18, 2017
This matchup obviously hasn’t been announced by anybody but Cyborg. What’s of greater significance is her contract status with the UFC. In just six months, her deal is set to expire, according to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani.
According to multiple sources, Justino has two fights left on her current UFC contract. However, she also has a clause in her contract which states the deal expires come October 2017, regardless of how many fights are left on it.
The UFC is hoping to book Justino vs. Germaine de Randamie for the women’s featherweight title at UFC 214 on July 29, though that deal is not finalized.
A potential sticking point: it’s unclear at this time the status of de Randamie’s injured hand, which she revealed after becoming the inaugural featherweight champion in February after defeating Holly Holm. Sources close to her declined to comment on her status when contacted by MMA Fighting.
Cyborg signed a seven-fight Zuffa contract, with three of those fights happening under the Invicta FC banner before she made her UFC debut in 2016, beating Leslie Smith and Lina Akhtar Lansberg at 140 lbs catchweights. The plan was seemingly for her to fight for the inaugural UFC women’s FW belt, but the UFC changed course after she turned down fights against Holm and de Randamie for the February PPV in Brooklyn. To make matters worse, she tested positive for the banned substance spironolactone, but was cleared for competition after USADA granted her a retroactive TUE.
The 31-year-old Brazilian has since relinquished her Invicta FC featherweight title, with the expectation that she’ll be contending for UFC gold next. That may still be the case, but the future of Cyborg (and for that matter, the UFC women’s featherweight division) is not exactly clear.