Last week, news broke that the Ultimate Fighting Championship was targeting Dec. 29 for a superfight between featherweight queen Cristiane Justino and bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes.
However, the date was not ideal for “Cyborg,” who would have preferred to face Nunes at UFC 228, which is scheduled for Sept. 8 in Dallas. Justino last defended her title with a first-round stoppage of Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222 in March, while Nunes retained the 135-pound strap with a fifth-round TKO of Raquel Pennington at UFC 224 in May.
“Friday, last week, I talked to the UFC, and I said I wanted to fight, that I’m ready to fight,” Cyborg said on the Brazilian show Combate News. “I’ve been training, ready, and I want to fight. They offered me Sept. 8, in Dallas, to fight Amanda. I said that’s fine. I’ll fight. I’ve been training. I’m ready. A champion has to be ready all the time.
“Then on Monday they said [she] didn’t accept Sept. 8. Then I said I wanted to fight anyway. I want to fight. I don’t want to be idle. And then Amanda sent the picture, saying she accepted the fight on Dec. 29.”
In the interim, Justino would have preferred to make a featherweight title defense, although she was not especially pleased with the female 145-pound competitors selected for the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
“They did the [‘TUF 28’] house, and they cut all the girls at 145,” Justino said. “They only signed up the girls who can make 135 pounds. Holly Holm says she doesn’t want to fight now. Pam Sorenson tried out for ‘TUF,’ but she didn’t make it. They didn’t put her through I think because she doesn’t make 135. There’s Cindy Dandois, who also beat Megan Anderson.
“There’s Ediane Gomes, who sends me messages challenging me all the time. [She’s] also in my division. There are girls who can fight. There are girls in my division. But they don’t want it. They want that fight with Amanda. But I don’t think it’s fair to wait 10 months, one year for this fight to happen.”
If Justino vs. Nunes does indeed take place at the end of the year, “Cyborg” is hinting that it could be her final appearance with the Las Vegas-based promotion. Whether that means she will turn her focus to boxing or take her talents to another MMA organization remains to be seen.
“I think this fight will be my last in the UFC, because my contract expires in March,” she said. “And doing this fight in December, I think it will be the last that people will see me fight.”