If You Give Fans “Rousey vs. Cyborg”...
I was relaxing on my laptop the other day when the UFC released another episode of the popular Youtube series, Embedded ahead of UFC 190. In the video, Ronda Rousey talked about how when she would give fans decisive finishes (mostly by submission), detractors would counter that she had no striking. She has definitely got striking now, with her 0:34 second KO of Bethe Correia and 0:14 second KO of Alexis Davis being proof enough.
Now those detractors are claiming that Rousey has no other real competition other than rival, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, and it’s hard to disagree.
However, “Rowdy” used the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” analogy when her style was being criticized. When it comes to the often speculated “Cyborg” fight, I feel that the same analogy still applies.
Fight at 135 lbs: If Justino loses, it’s because she had to cut weight and was suffering from that cut. Renowned nutritionist (and former Ultimate Fighter: Season 7 contestant), Mike Dolce claimed he could get Justino to 135 and she’d be in great shape. UFC President, Dana White backed Dolce’s abilities up.
Fight at 140 lbs: It’s a catchweight and wouldn’t be for Rousey’s championship.
“You have fought 154 in the Olympics and 145 in MMA. You can meet me at 140 easier than for me to go down to 135. The only reason you want the fight at 135 is because you feel that is your only chance because you hope the weight cut will affect me. “Justino said.
No, Rousey fights at 135 because she is the champion of that division. While Justino is also a champion, it’s the Invicta Fighting Championships belt, which leads to my point below.
Fight at 145 lbs: The UFC doesn’t have a 145-pound division, so not only would it not be for Rousey’s belt, it wouldn’t even be in the UFC. Then the argument could be made that the fight not happening under MMA’s leading organization takes away some of the bout’s prestige.
At any rate, Justino has since announced a drop to 135.
“I’m ready. I’ve been ready for this fight for a long time. If it don’t happen now because it don’t happen, but I think if the UFC wants to make this fight happen, they have the power to do it. I’m ready. Tomorrow, I want to fight. I’d fight. I go to win. She already knows this” Justino said.
If Rousey loses: Rousey fans (myself included) will want to know if Justino was on something.
As far as allegations of further use of Performance Enhancing Drugs since a failed 2011 test goes, I have to come to Justino’s defense on this one.
“She can’t say anything about my doping,” “I did this in 2011 and I already passed six tests and it’s the same exams she’s doing. Because we are in the same organization now. All exams are the same commission. I don’t think it’s right she says something she cannot prove.”
Additionally, Justino passed her most recent test on July 21, 2015 after Invicta’s thirteenth event, held on July 9. View the full report here
If “Cyborg” loses: Rousey has said that she sees the potential fight with Justino being her last fight and in that event I’d have to agree that Rousey has cleaned out 135. Justino had something to say about that as well.
“Ronda Rousey already cleaned out her division and she’s doing fight No. 3 with Miesha Tate and this shows for us she already cleaned the division. When a champ cleans out a division, everybody saw this, the champ goes up to fight somebody else. I’m a champion at 145 and I can drop to 140 to fight her,”Justino said. “The right way she has to make 145 because champions always do this when you clean out your division.”
If Justino loses, Rousey has then accomplished what she may feel is her greatest challenge and decide to retire. Just because a champion is “supposed to” or it is commonplace--no one dictates Ronda Rousey’s career but he, ultimately. If she wants to retire after facing someone she’s allegedly been ducking for years, she’s free to do so.
Some may make claims of her record being padded with wins against lesser fighters, but I will say this: Rousey is not the matchmaker, and anyone who is not only an MMA fighter but a fighter at the level of the UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce, etc…could put away trash-talkers sitting behind screens.
If this fight ever happens: It happens at the very top, the UFC, and although this is about so much more than a title, it happens with a belt on the line just for the sake of physically being able to call the winner a champion and having a belt symbolize that. If this fight happens, it happens at 135, a division Rousey has dominated but Justino now thinks she can make and make safely.
Will this fight happen?
“Her shows that she headlines lose thousands of dollars, and the majority of the tickets are given away because no one will buy them. She needs me. So pretty much we're waiting for her to realize that she needs to fight me before I retire or she'll never have enough money to retire. I would like me kicking her ass be my retirement fight but whether she steps up or not I'll walk away undefeated and happily ever after regardless" Rousey said.
While I am glad to see that Rousey knows she doesn’t need Justino to consider herself a success or to be happy, I’m even more pleased to see that she still wants to face “Cyborg”, everyone has to know Dana White wants this fight, and Justino appears to still want it too.
Ultimately, it’s Justino who is now keeping my hope alive for this grudge match. The pressure is all on her to not only make weight, but I’m guessing to have one or two bouts before a title shot (just as proof she can fight comfortably at the weight, to provide enough time for hype to build, and enough footage for a wicked promo video).
There is a slim likelihood of the bout going the way of a judge’s decision, which could be another argument against either, but I doubt that occurs.
Just know that while it may be impossible to make everyone happy, the future is at least looking brighter than it ever has before with these women.
“This fight has to happen," Cyborg said on ESPN's SportsCenter. "If the UFC thinks I don't deserve this fight, don't do it for me. Do it for all the fans."