UFC boss says Rousey-Cyborg could take place at 140 pounds, but not anytime soon
LAS VEGAS – Cristiane 'Cyborg' Santos (10-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) may actually get her wish of meeting UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in a catchweight matchup, but it's not going to happen anytime soon.
UFC President Dana White said he's not completely opposed to the idea of the two female stars meeting in a 140-pound matchup, but now is not the time.
"It's not a title fight," White said at a Thursday media session promoting this weekends' UFC event. "If that's what [Santos] is willing to do is go to 140, let's let Ronda defend her title a few times and see if Ronda wants to go to 140. If I know Ronda, she probably would anyway, so let's see what happens. But if [Santos] wants to fight for a title and have a title fight, she has to go to 135 pounds.
"A fight at 140 would be a fan fight because everybody wants to see it, but it's not one of those fights that makes sense."
Santos, a former Strikeforce female featherweight champion, was stripped of her belt and suspended for one year when she tested positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol following a December 2011 title defense over Hiroko Yamanaka. Prior to the California State Athletic Commission-ordered sidelining, Santos and Rousey appeared to be on a collision course in what many pundits believe would be the highest-profile women's fight in MMA history.
But with Santos on the shelf, Rousey elected to drop to 135 pounds where there were more fights available. She promptly claimed the Strikeforce women's bantamweight title and was later awarded the UFC's first-ever women's championship belt when the promotion brought in fighters from the now-shuttered Strikeforce brand.
Since that time, both Rousey and UFC officials have made it clear they expect Santos to move to 135 pound, which the Brazilian and her manager, UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz, have suggested is borderline impossible. That's led to some speculation (including from White, himself)( that Santos is scared of Rousey and is doing her best to avoid a fight with the submission specialist.
This past week, Santos took to social media to dispel those rumors while also asking for a 140-pound catchweight bout.
"I am not afraid of Ronda Rousey," Santos wrote on Twitter. "I will fight her anywhere, anytime for free. Everyone knows I barely make 145, but I am willing to sacrifice and meet her halfway at 140. I can't believe Dana White says I want nothing to do with Ronda Rousey. What he wants me to do is fight Ronda with both my hands tied behind my back or comatose so that she can have a chance – which is what making me fight at 135 is.
"To finally shut everyone up, I will fight Ronda with one hand tied behind my back at 140 pounds and still kick her ass and prove that I'm the real champ, not her, and let the winner take ALL. Come on Ronda Rousey. Step up, b----!"
White confirmed Santos is currently under contract with the promotion and she is owed fights based on the terms of the deal. However, what exactly the promotion will do with her (and other 145-pound female fighters) is still unclear.
"We're figuring that out right now," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
). "As we brought the Strikeforce people into the UFC, we're finding places for them, and the women that are at 145, we've got to figure out."
Unfortunately for Santos, White said the "figuring out" process could ultimately lead to them simply terminating her contract.
So for now, White isn't completely ruling out an eventual catchweight fight, but he insists that the title be on the line for now as the company tries to develop its lone female division. And that offer still remains on the table for the Brazilian slugger.
"Listen, 'Cyborg' either wants to come in and fight for the title and get a big payday and fight the champion or she doesn't," White said.
Rousey headlines this month's UFC 157 event, where she makes her octagon debut against fellow Strikeforce vet Liz Carmouche.