Ronda Rousey vs Cyborg will happen and it will be soon. Can’t be anymore clear than that. We’ve had a bunch of excellent pieces here at HG.com, all looking at this fight from various angles. But I can tell you now – without any doubt – Ronda Rousey will fight Lady Cyborg. They will fight at 135 lbs. And it will be promoted huge and do big business.
There are no coincidences
The other day, Lady Cyborg appeared on ESPN. It kind of came out of the blue. She had no fight to promote. No book. Nothing. No reason to be on TV at all. Rousey had just fought and ESPN was interviewing a woman that isn’t as well known to hype a fight that isn’t scheduled?
Remember: Cyborg is under contract to UFC parent company Zuffa. Whilst she is (shakes head) advised/managed/whatever by Tito Ortiz, the odds are she isn’t going on TV – ESPN no less – without the UFC knowing. And they didn’t put up any fight that anyone has head of, as of yet. (And you know Ortiz, smart guy that he is who in no way is an anchor on anyone’s career, would be all over any attempts by the UFC to “silence Ronda’s rival.”)
Then there were the leaks that the fight was ready to go, Dallas Cowboys Stadium (I think it’s actually AT&T Stadium but branding takes time)(don’t I know it…). It would’ve been part of the double main-event with Aldo vs McGregor. No, it didn’t come to pass but again: this stuff doesn’t get out, and certainly doesn’t get out through “the usual suspects” on accident.
Oh, and we had Cyborg’s manager (agent? guy who isn’t Tito a/k/a the guy on the team that can read) who said she was offered the fight. Then the UFC said something like, “No, she was offered A fight at 135” and so the public dance continued.
Ronda herself is now out there, publicly talking up the fight (poor Boobs McGee...). Her new quote is Cyborg can make weight she just wants as much money as possible. This makes Cyborg much smarter than people give her credit. It’s also Ronda coming out in public and saying, “THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN. NOT IF BUT WHEN!”
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
In isolation, none of this is damming. In aggregate? And with it all coming out within the last two weeks – these things aren’t an accident. This is tea leaf reading, sure, but it’s there.
The UFC knows it can milk (yikes, poor choice of words?) another fight between Rousey and Tate. Then what? We’ve noted before but Ronda has, no joke, beaten – and finished – 70% of the top ten in her division. And she’s finished all of them in the first round at one time or another. Hell, Tate’s claim to fame is, “I got my ass beat by Rousey longer than the others. That warrants a title shot!”
That’s what the women’s bantamweight division is at the moment. And it’s not like it’s an indictment on the UFC for not having good fighters so much as it is evidence that Rousey is at a level beyond any of them.
This is all Ronda has
So, what’s left? Cyborg. She’s the female Fedor for a new generation. “The one” that hardcore fans cling to, telling themselves, “No, see, look how great she is. She can totally do it. The best fighters aren’t all in the UFC.” Like Fedor, the longer she waits, the greater the risk that she loses (and then loses again … and again) and devalues her stock. But right now – with Rousey managing to close in near a million PPV buys for a show from Brazil with a terribly weak undercard against an opponent whose name is mostly known because it sorta sounds like “bitch” – now is the time.
Maybe Rousey gets bigger and bigger and she starts bringing in 20 million PPV buys for all of her fights. (She won’t.) She might get bigger, sure, but she is probably close enough to her drawing peak. And this is to say nothing of Cyborg. She isn’t Pacman, waiting for Floyd. She might be to those who know of her but she still isn’t really all that well known. If anything, her main claim to fame is this sort of whispered “future opponent of Ronda who is good.”
And Cyborg will play great on TV. Her clips are the only other female MMA fights that match Ronda for destruction. It’s an easy fight to sell. And that everyone is talking about it tells me it’s going on sale very soon.