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Cris Cyborg slams UFC for not promoting Brazilians, wants to fight where she’s respected

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UFC 222: Cyborg v Kunitskaya Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

Cris Cyborg has been experiencing a hot-and-cold relationship with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) throughout the years. Mainly because the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion has had trouble finding suitable Featherweights to oppose her, often resorting to puffed-up Bantamweights or forcing her to make the dreaded cut down to 140 pounds.

And when she does have a chance to face a legitimate champion in Amanda Nunes — who called out the fearsome striker to a 145-pound title fight last December — she doesn’t like the fact that she has to wait until “Lioness” is ready, which won’t be until five months from now. Furthermore, Cris doesn’t appreciate the promotion overlooking other deserving Brazilian fighters when it comes to handing out championship fights.

”It’s no secret that the UFC doesn’t promote Brazilians,” said Cyborg in a recent interview with MMA Fighting. “Ketlen Vieira will fight Tonya Evinger now. She has 10 straight wins and should be fighting for the belt. OK, Amanda wants to move up, so she deserves an interim belt in Sao Paulo against a ranked girl. She’s fighting Tonya Evinger, who’s not even ranked in the UFC, in a non-title fight. Why are they doing that? Because they will do Holly Holm with someone else for the interim belt. I’m almost positive of that. But that’s not right with Ketlen Vieira, who is ranked,” she added.

Cris hasn’t competed since UFC 222 this past March, taking out Yana Kunitskaya in the very first round (recap). And since she made quick work of her opponent, as usual, she is champing at the bit to fight again.

“It’s not fair to have me sidelined in my prime because Amanda wants to go out on vacation. I’m the champion for 10 years, before the UFC had women fighting. I’m the champion and that’s how I make a living. We only get paid when we fight, and I’ll stay out for almost a year waiting for Amanda,” she added.

Cris called for a title fight against Nunes at UFC 228 this September, but Nunes wanted to wait until UFC 232 at the end of the year. With Cyborg’s current deal set to expire soon, the 145-pound champion is seriously considering testing the free agency waters in order to see if she can land somewhere that will not only give her plenty of fights, but respect her, as well.

”It’s the difficulty of working together,” Cyborg said. “I want to see which options I got. I want to see the options. I like to fight where people respect me. I like my job and I think it’s disrespectful to stay out for almost a year in my prime.”

While one can understand Cyborg’s frustration of having to sit out for an extended period to get a fight, the timing of her threats to leave the promotion are a bit odd given the fact that the next edition of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) will see the creation of the women’s 145-pound weight class.

Something Cyborg has wanted for quite some time.