Cris "Cyborg" Justino is ready to get back to work after recovering from two, back-to-back, severe weight cuts and wants her shot at the UFC featherweight belt like she was promised, but not if it's an interim title.
“If [Germaine de Randamie] is not healthy enough to fight at UFC 214 in Anaheim, I don’t want an interim belt," she told BJPenn.com. "When the UFC asked me last January to fight her for the belt, I explained to them I would, but needed a March date because my body was still recovering from two weight cuts to 140 pounds. So I know what it is like to want to accept the fight, but needing additional time to heal."
Justino was initially offered the fight last year, but at the time, she was under the care of a doctor who advised her not to fight until March. The UFC was not willing to wait, and went ahead with an inaugural featherweight title fight between de Randamie and former bantamweight champion Holly Holm.
"Belts are for the promoter. If she is not healthy enough to defend her belt, She should be given time to heal completely and fight me after that has happened," she said. "There are men fighters who haven’t defended their belt for much longer without having an interim title made in their division and the women athletes should be given the same luxury."
Interim titles have become increasingly more popular due to champions leaving their divisions for other weight classes, USADA suspensions, and the ever present injuries.
"After recently vacating my Invicta 145-pound belt, I also know what it is like to have a world championship that you want to defend and not being given the opportunity to do so," Cyborg said. "I am ranked #1 in the world by both ESPN and Fox Sports at 145 and don’t need a belt to tell the fans I am number 1 in the world. They know I have not lost in 10 years."
Cyborg was recently cleared by USADA due to a failed drug test that stemmed from medication she was given following her last bout. She's now been made to fight medically as well.
"I have already been sidelined almost ten months, and for me, the priority is getting back into the cage for my fans. I have two fights remaining on my contract, and my goal is to complete them and then give myself an opportunity to re-evaluate the situation and see which direction is best for me and my team.”
Cyborg says that she would like to fight GDR at UFC 214. The UFC has yet to comment on their plans for her return.