Cris Cyborg is on a quest to become the UFC women's featherweight champion, a distinction she nearly gave her life for just a year ago.
For a chance to fight in the UFC, Cyborg cut down to 140lbs to compete in catchweight bouts. It took its toll on her body and has shelved her for over six months.
In that time, Cyborg had to sit and watch Germaine de Randamie become the UFC's first female featherweight champion and fought claims of a failed USADA test.
Cyborg proved herself innocent of any PED allegations, skipped out on a proposed suspension and trained for a fight this Spring. Unfortunately, de Randamie suffered an injury in her title fight against Holly Holm and required surgery.
Cyborg could pick up a fight and be rewarded an interim title, but what's the purpose in that? Her goal is to prove that she is the best female fighter in the world and sharing a title would leave lingering doubt, so Cyborg waits. She waits for the opportunity to challenge for the belt she feels is rightfully hers, and waits to see how her future unfolds.
“If [Germaine de Randamie] is not healthy enough to fight at UFC 214 in Anaheim, I don’t want an interim belt,” Cyborg said. “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 140lbs. So I know what it is like to want to accept the fight, but needing additional time to heal.”
“I have already been sidelined almost 10 months, and for me the priority is getting back into the cage for my fans,” she continued. “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.”
A part of that future is her impending free agency. It's assumed that champions re-sign with the UFC after getting titles and truly cash in with big contracts, but what if that isn't the case with Cyborg? What if her goal is to simply capture the title and move on to other challenges?
Bellator president Scott Coker is banking on that mentality and is planning to speak with Cyborg when her UFC contract is up, regardless if she is champion or not.
This brings back memories of Alundra Blayze leaving WWE with the women's title and throwing it in a trash can on WCW television.
Cyborg has the power to leave in the same manner, but will she be able to spurn the advances of Dana White and the UFC? Only time will tell.