Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm are two of the top female fighters in all of MMA. A match between the two for the featherweight championship was once portrayed as the next high-profile clash for the division, but recent developments may put the brakes on this highly anticipated bout.
The matchup was close to being finalized for UFC 219 on December 30, but financial disagreements may have brought talks to a standstill. Holm’s manager, Lenny Fresquez, said that negotiations fell through because the two sides couldn’t agree on the right terms.
“Holly was anxiously awaiting the Dec. 30 fight with Cyborg and had been training for it. But we could not come to financial terms for this featherweight title bout in December. We look forward to meeting her under the right circumstances.”
Holm rose to superstardom the night she faced off against the UFC’s poster-woman at the time, Ronda Rousey. Rousey was touted as the best female fighters in the world, with some going all-in on the hype and claiming she was one of the greatest of all time.
The undefeated Holm brought a ten-fight winning streak into the bout, but it was her background in boxing that made the difference. She was able to out strike Rousey consistently, while also negating most of her offense through crisp movement.
Holm even shrugged off the famed judoka’s grappling attempts before finishing her with a devastating head kick and punches to claim the bantamweight championship. Holm’s success may have shocked the MMA world, or at least those who believed Rousey was unbeatable, but the new champion would soon hit a skid.
Holm dropped her next three bouts, losing the title after being choked out by Miesha Tate, then dropping back-to-back decisions against Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie. She rebounded this past summer with a head kick KO over former bantamweight contender Bethe Correia.
Cristiane Justino Venancio, better known as Cris Cyborg or just Cyborg, has been one of the sport’s top female fighters for years. Even in the days of Rousey’s historic reign, Cyborg was making her own legacy in promotions outside the UFC. After joining up with the company, she won the vacant featherweight title from Tonya Evinger.
After losing her first ever professional fight, Cyborg started a winning streak that is still going to this day. Save for one victory which was turned to a no-contest following a failed drug test, Cyborg has put together an incredible eighteen-fight winning streak. This is a feat that few in the sport, male or female, can say they’ve matched.
A bout between the two may have represented each woman’s greatest challenge to date. Cyborg’s punching power and tenacity against Holm’s crisp counterstriking would’ve made for an interesting contest. Matchmakers may try to reestablish negotiations in 2018 if no other logical fights have materialized for the women.
Cyborg is no stranger to fantasy matchups – many hoped to see her square off with Rousey, though Rousey’s coach said the fight is highly unlikely at this point.
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