Cris Cyborg vs. Ronda Rousey will go down with Fedor vs. Couture and Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson as great and meaningful fights that could have happened, but never did. The reasons Cyborg never met ‘Rowdy’ are well-known. Simply, the UFC did not want to risk their top star of the time versus a larger woman, known for her striking, who had a track record for derailing hype trains.
Cyborg did of course join the UFC, but only after Rousey had left MMA for pastures new. With the UFC Cyborg won the featherweight title, which she then dropped to women’s GOAT Amanda Nunes. She then left for Bellator.
Her first fight since reuniting with Scott Coker was a TKO win over Julia Budd in 2020 to win Bellator’s featherweight title. She has since defended that title twice, against Arlene Blencowe and Leslie Smith.
Cyborg, who campaigned hard for a fight with Rousey back in the day, is now eyeing another Olympian who has gotten off to a dominant start in the cage.
On a recent appearance on The MMA Hour the Brazilian spoke about PFL lightweight champion Kayla Harrison.
“I think it’s going to be a great fight for me,” Cyborg said of a potential clash (ht MMA Fighting). “She don’t need to come in at 145, we can fight at 155. She said [it was] the last fight on her contract, too, I saw and I believe maybe she’s going to sign with the UFC, but she can make more money than Amanda Nunes in PFL.”
When talk turned to the similarities between Harrison and Rousey, Cyborg broke down how she prepared for a Rousey fight that never came. She also offered her opinion on who she thought was the more dangerous fighter out of the former UFC bantamweight champ and the current queen of PFL.
“I was supposed to fight Ronda Rousey before and I was training for a camp. The first thing you train in judo is learn to fall. Because when you’re going to fight judo, maybe you’re going to fall yes, but you have to know what to do after.
Cyborg went on to say she thought wrestling can beat judo in MMA. She also advised that Harrison focus on her striking.
“I think she should care more about the striking,” she said. “Because if you see a couple of her fights at what 11-0, the girls fighting her are scared of the takedown and scared to punch for takedown.
“When you fight a judo girl, you can think about maybe you’re going to get taken down, it’s an MMA fight. You cannot be afraid of a takedown. She’s afraid to strike, too, when she fights the girls. Example is when she fights Cindy Dandois. Cindy Dandois came from judo, she’s really confident in her striking, she’s supposed to use the striking to fight Dandois but she’s not confident. She just did a judo takedown.”
Cyborg also took time to criticize Harrison’s record, going as far to say that Harrison would be “exposed” when fighting top names like Holly Holm, Germaine de Randamie or Julia Budd.
“I hear her talk. She’s very young, I don’t know if she knows the history of MMA,” added Cyborg. “She just remind me of another judo girl who comes to MMA and I just look for what’s going to happen. It’s OK. It’s nice when people really think you’re more than you are. It’s hard. I don’t like to talk about myself. I prefer the fans, people see who they think I am but maybe she thinks she’s doing the right thing.”