After Cris Cyborg suffered the first knockout loss of her career — her first loss in 13 years — at the hands of Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 last Saturday night (Dec. 29, 2018), there was plenty of thrill and agony to go around.
Many were delighted to see that Cyborg — the most dominate force in women’s mixed martial arts (MMA) — could actually be defeated, while others were sad to see such a terrifying reign come to an end.
For the Professional Fighters League (PFL) standout Kayla Harrison, it was a little bit of both. That’s because the two-time Olympic gold medalist was happy to see Nunes, her teammate, become champ-champ, but was sad to see the villain be taken down by someone other than herself.
“I’m really happy for Amanda, but part of me -- my villain is gone now, kind of,” Harrison told ESPN, while saying one of the biggest differences between her and Ronda Rousey was the actual desire to fight Cris.
“That’s always been the difference between me and [fellow Olympic judoka] Ronda Rousey. She never wanted to fight Cyborg. I was always like, ‘I can’t wait to fight Cyborg.’
According to Harrison — who remained undefeated after defeating Moriel Charneski at PFL 11 on Dec. 31 — Cyborg losing was the outcome UFC likely preferred, as she feels the promotion never really meshed with the dominant striker.
“UFC, for whatever reason, I don’t think they like Cyborg,” Harrison said. “I think they wanted Amanda to win. I don’t know the history, but from what I hear, they wanted this to happen and Cyborg might not have a contract come March.”
If Cyborg does indeed decide to take her talents elsewhere, PFL is always a potential landing spot. If so, Cris could jump up to Lightweight to be a part of the promotion’s $1 million tournament, which Kayla will take part in.
“I still think it would be awesome to fight her. One loss in 10 years doesn’t make her a dud. She’s still a complete wrecking machine. That was the greatest women’s fight of all time, and it kind of pisses me off it was overshadowed by so much stupidity and drama last week,” she said, referencing the Jon Jones debacle.
“I think the only thing that makes sense for her right now is a rematch with Amanda, but of course I would still fight her. No matter what, I would fight her.”