It took just about one week's time to get an answer to the question of how UFC will proceed with former women's featherweight champion Cris "Cyborg" Justino going forward. In an exclusive interview released by the promotion on Friday, UFC president Dana White definitively proclaimed that Cyborg's days as a UFC competitor are over, and she'll be free to explore all of the options she now has at her disposal.
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"I'm gonna release her from her contract, I will not match any offers, she is free and clear to go to Bellator or any of these other organizations and fight these easy fights that she wants. Done. Done deal," White said. "I will literally, today, have my lawyers draft a letter to her team that she is free and clear to go wherever she wants. We're out of the Cyborg business."
Last weekend in the co-main event of the UFC 240 card, Cyborg competed in the last fight on her previous UFC deal. She defeated the up-and-coming Felicia Spencer via unanimous decision -- an outcome that, quite frankly, left very few salivating over the idea of seeing a rematch with current women's bantamweight/featherweight champion Amanda Nunes. Though earlier this week, Cyborg released footage of a backstage confrontation that took place in Toronto last Saturday that showed White promising his former featherweight champ that he would get her rematch squared away.
Following years of being shut out of the promotion by White, Cyborg made her long-awaited UFC debut in May 2016 with a first-round TKO finish of Leslie Smith. With a UFC women's featherweight division virtually created for her, Cyborg captured the vacant 145-pound title in July 2017 as she rattled off five consecutive victories to begin her UFC career. Her momentum -- and her streak of 13 years without a loss -- came to a violent halt last December at UFC 232 when Nunes moved up a weight class and proceeded to pummel Cyborg to the tune of a 51-second, first-round TKO result.
At just 34 years of age, the MMA road hasn't ended for the woman who was once the most feared female competitor on the planet. But if she wants to become a champion again, White has made it abundantly clear that she will have to achieve that goal elsewhere.
The two have never seen eye to eye on when negotiating, but it started with how White talked about Cyborg before signing her, saying she "looked like Wanderlei Silva in a dress." But Cyborg took things a step further this week when the two appeared to discuss their contract negotiations after UFC 240, but according to Cyborg, her team doctored the footage to make it seem like Dana White was saying "whenever you hear me saying stuff, I'm not saying …the truth." Cyborg issued an apology for that late on Friday night.
Cyborg's former boss and Bellator MMA president Scott Coker tweeted out his own reaction to the news from White before giving his comments to MMAJunkie.
"That's great news. I'll be calling (Cyborg's manager) Audie (Attar) in the next five minutes."