This past weekend, Cris Cyborg got herself back in the win column with her dominating performance over former Invicta featherweight champion, Felicia Spencer. This was Cris’ first fight since her devastating knock out loss to, now, dual champion; Amanda Nunes.
This was the last fight on Cyborg’s UFC contract, so much of the talk leading into the contest was about what Cyborg would do after winning. Cris has been rather vocal about her distaste with UFC’s boss, Dana White conduct. The post fight presser was no different.
Cris used her mic time to tear her boss up about his previous comments about her. One tweet showed a video of Dana While cracking a joke about Cyborg looking like fellow Brazilian, Wanderlei SIlva in a dress.
Outside of the personal dispute sits the rematch that White clearly doesn’t want to make. Dana has said it at ever turn that he has no interest in putting together the Nunes/Cyborg rematch, but now with Cris tempting to test free agency that fight looks to be in jeopardy.
Cris looks to be digging in this time, and it’s not looking pretty. Cris feels slighted by the UFC and Dana White. While she is adamant she wants the fight with Nunes, Dana has been singing a different song. Does this sound familiar?
Well maybe because when Rousey was breaking down barriers and carrying womens MMA to new heights, Cyborg was busy tearing through any woman who would dare step in front of her. Many speculated on the potential super-fight of Rousey vs Cyborg.
Dana said the fight was never close to being made. Cyborg had nothing that the UFC was looking for. As for Rousey, the fight was a huge risk to her brand. At the time Ronda had been banking on being the baddest woman on the planet, a moniker that had followed her into her short stint in Hollywood, and even when she made her way to the WWE. Cris was in a division that wasn’t currently in the UFC as it lacked the depth required to have a full division dedicated to it. Even now the division struggles to have any depth.
Long story short, Cyborg had nothing that would give her the upper hand in any negotiation, and really there was nothing about her that would get parties to the table in any meaningful way. The only thing she had was her claim to the best woman fighter in the world, which was true at the time, but with such little exposure and her name being trashed by the face of the sport at the time in Ronda Rousey.
Now fast forward to the present, Cyborg has built herself a healthy fan base and has fought on the biggest stage in the world, but after the loss to Amanda she is once again coming to the table with no upper hand.
With the loss to Nunes she lost all her bargaining power, she no longer carries the title of best woman fighter on the planet, and the lady that beat her is locked into a deal which she seems happy with.
Cyborg doesn’t carry enough PPV weight to demand any type of compensation, and with the loss of her title she doesn’t have that chip to push to the middle of the table either. On top of all of this, Cris has stated she wants a one fight deal for the rematch with Nunes, and to be free afterwards.
As great as that sounds, it makes zero sense for the UFC to grant such a request. Outside of some moral conundrum, why would the UFC put so much weight behind that kind of fight, only to have Cyborg fly the coupe if she wins. Taking the belt with her and taking back the mantle of greatest woman fighter in the world.
The UFC has shown a history of insulating itself against such risk, with champions clauses and just a short time ago i wrote about the ESPN deal and how it protects them from having another Conor McGregor situation; which is where a fighter starts to can gain traction in contract talks and be able to pry more out of the promotion.
Don’t confuse this as a shot at Cyborg or her skill. She is still one of the best fighters in the world and brings action whenever she steps foot in the cage. Cris has worked hard for what she has and it is her right to see what’s out there in free agency, this is a simple reality, she hasn’t got anything that UFC can’t do without.
The only person who seems to be pushing for Cyborg to resign is the person who slayed her, Amanda Nunes. Nunes wants to put a stamp on Cyborg and beat her again. Another massive win would erase all doubt on who is the best woman in the world. No one could chalk up the first fight as a fluke and the discussion would be dead.
If Cyborg was a poker player her hand would be face up right now. If i were to suggest an outcome for her it would be to sign the one fight deal with another deal in place that would include a rematch with Nunes if she was to win, and some major money.
Dana likes to gamble, exploit that side of him to try and make a deal work. Cris needs to bet on herself, push all her chips to the middle and let the flop decide her fate. She has no leverage in the upcoming negotiations and if another promotion comes calling with a huge sum of money the UFC would be content to let her leave. It’s the same as it has always been, no matter the wheels, the train will keep rolling.