clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ronda Rousey: ‘Cyborg' Santos nearly killed women's MMA; isn't owed anything

UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey says former Strikeforce champ Cristiane Santos "nearly killed women's MMA" with her failed drug test in 2011 and that if the Brazilian wants to fight, she can come to 135-pounds due to the fact she "isn't owed anything."

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Despite being signed to different promotions, the talk about a fight between elite female mixed martial arts (MMA) competitors Ronda Rousey and Cristiane Santos won't come to a halt.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight champion and the Invicta FC featherweight have butted heads in the media over the past year; however, each time an interview is done by either fight the likelihood of a bout becoming a reality grows marginally smaller.

The door was open for ‘Cyborg' to come into the UFC just a few weeks ago, but instead the Brazilian opted to sign a multi-fight contract with Invicta FC where she will fight Ediane Gomes on April 5, 2013.

The tale between Santos and Rousey is a long and chalk full of insults, but even after "Rowdy" defeated Liz Carmouche in the first-ever female fight in the UFC, questions about Santos are still coming her way.

As usual, Rousey says she would be open to fighting the former Strikeforce champion; however, Santos needs to drop to 135-pounds if she wants it to happen, something the Olympian doesn't believe is possible due to her rival's past experience using performance enhancing drugs.

"I mean, she's obviously not willing to go through the effort to go for the fight," Rousey explained to Joe Ferraro in an interview with Sportsnet. "If you're pumped full of steroids and the lightest you can get it 145 it's obvious the lightest you can get without steroids is lighter. She refuses to do that and it's just - I don't know where this sense of entitlement comes from. She hasn't had a recorded win in over three years; I mean there's so many other women.

"I'm not - we're not going to make exceptions and create divisions for someone who was a fraud and defamed the sport."

Rousey is a figure that has brought attention to MMA unlike anyone before her, an accomplishment that required extensive media obligations and a lot of legwork from the 26-year-old.

With the Rousey-headlined UFC 157 event in February reportedly selling in the neighborhood of 500,000 pay-per-view (PPV) buys, it's obvious women's mixed martial arts is at it's height in popularity, and it's even more obvious Rousey is the reason why.

Not only does Rousey find distain for ‘Cyborg' because she is a "fraud," she also believes Santos' failed drug test in 2011 badly crippled women's MMA and sank it to the point where only a magnetic superstar like Rousey was able to save it.

"She almost destroyed women's MMA," Rousey said. "I mean think about it, the entire sport stagnated under her and she cared more about having an unfair advantage and winning fights then she did about the sport itself and it suffered under her.

"We don't owe her anything. If she wants the only title that matters she needs to go in the only division that the UFC has. We're not making exceptions for cheaters. She was exposed as a fraud and she needs to be the one to make the changes to clear her name."

Even though a fight between Rousey and Santos is one that could draw a large amount of interest to the sport, Rousey is not willing to make accommodations for someone she feels has held the sport back.

While a fight against ‘Cyborg' would "move the needle," it's not going to happen unless the 27-year-old is able to cut 10 pounds from her frame and move to 135-pounds.

Some have suggested a catchweight bout, which is theory sounds like a good idea. To Rousey, though, her foe doesn't "deserve" even the slightest bit of leeway and even giving up a few pounds would create the risk of an unfair fight.

"Encouraging something like that is not something I'm willing to do," Rousey said bluntly. "If we meet at a catchweight of 140 or something like that, she's routinely come in to fights grossly overweight like seven pounds or more overweight. I wouldn't put it past her to come into a fight, agree to 140 and come in at 148 and be like, ‘Whatever, fight me anyways.' Because she's done it before and I'm not going to encourage behavior like that and I'm not going to give someone like that a chance for the title ahead of the girls who really work hard and are honest and deserving of it.

"If you want to prove to everybody that you deserve to be called the best in the world, well then come in to the only division and fight for the only title that matters."

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania