In the latest round of "Will she or won't she," ESPN recently confirmed that Cris Cyborg is in contract negotiations with the UFC. Cyborg has been inactive in mixed martial arts competition since July 2013, when she claimed the Invicta featherweight belt from former champion, Marloes Coenen. Injuries and indecision about cutting down to 135 were the primary factors involved in keeping her sidelined, a reality that has left many fans frustrated, since the likelihood of a bout with UFC women's bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey has seemed remote, at best.
Now, the lines of communication are open and activity is legitimately happening. UFC CEO, Lorenzo Fertitta told ESPN that he has been in serious negotiations with Justino's management for the last two weeks, but a deal has yet to be signed. One of the details of the deal is that Cris would remain under the Invicta banner to finish the last fight on that particular contract. It would also serve as a test run to show that she can make 135, which is where the money fight is with Rousey.
"We certainly have an interest in Cyborg fighting for us," Fertitta said. "We feel that down the road, there is a possibility of a big fight between her and Ronda, but there are still a lot of things that need to happen. "
"She needs to prove she can get down to 135 pounds before we would take the risk of making that fight happen. Obviously, if she came over and didn't make the weight, it would be a disaster."
George Prajin, Justino's manager, also confirmed the negotiations being active, noting Zuffa's professionalism.
"One thing I can say is that Lorenzo and Zuffa have been very professional during these negotiations," Prajin said. "And they have been respectful to Chris, which is probably what's actually keeping us at the table."
Women's MMA in the UFC is still in its early, infant stage, but the prospect of a fight between Rousey and Cyborg is just what the doctor ordered to help keep this year on the right track. Fingers crossed!
Here's what Ronda Rousey had to say about the possibility of her fighting Cyborg late last year: