On the eve of her toughest fight to date, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight titleholder Ronda Rousey may already have her next fight lined up for December, if she's able to get past Sara McMann tomorrow night in the UFC 170 main event in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Yes, Cris Cyborg is coming.
The former Strikeforce featherweight champion -- who splits her time between Invicta FC and Lion Fight Muay Thai -- has agreed to make the drop to 135 pounds under the supervision of her doctor, in order to secure a future UFC bantamweight title shot.
From her statement to AXS TV:
"In reference to Ronda's statement that I am looking for a payday so that I can retire, you're right, I am looking for a payday to retire you like I did Gina Carano. But to show it's not only about money, I challenge you to a fight - winner takes all. Or better yet let's fight for FREE. ANYTIME! ANYWHERE! Ask your daddy Dana to make it happen.
My English is not that great, so sorry if I was misunderstood. I didn't literally mean I would die if I made 135. What I meant was that my doctor recommended that I did not fight the rest of my career at 135, which is what the UFC wanted.
You have fought 154 in the Olympics and 145 in MMA. You can meet me at 140 easier than for me to go down to 135. The only reason you want the fight at 135 is because you feel that is your only chance because you hope the weight cut will affect me. You guys say I'm irrelevant, yet watch my highlights. The true MMA fans not only know me, but know I'm the best. Sad that you give the true MMA fans no recognition by saying that they don't matter.
I'm currently training to fight at 145 on March 28 and in early May. My team has hired a medical doctor to help me make 135. I plan to challenge and win the Invicta 135 Championship in the summer and challenge you, champion to champion, for your 135 belt in December.
Now I know critics will say "I thought you said you would die if you made 135." All I'm promising is that I will give 100 percent to try to get to 135 to make this plan happen. If I do, I will still listen to my doctor's advice and fight no more than three times at 135: first to win the Invicta belt, the second time to kick your ass and the third time to kick your ass again so that the world can see it wasn't luck. You can even have me tested every week up to the fight. That way you will not have an excuse after I kick your ass."
Naturally, she first has to sign a contract with UFC.
I can't imagine that would be too difficult. Not only is "Rousey vs. Cyborg" one of the most lucrative female fights of all time, Tito Ortiz is no longer cock-blocking negotiations between the Brazilian and the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.
Or can it?
That may depend on McMann, or whatever other challenges await the champion outside the Octagon, like her upcoming movie roles. After all, she wouldn't be the first female fighter to bolt for "Tinseltown," but as Gina Carano would attest, it's much better to go out on top.
Any chance this fight sees the light of day?