Even before the Rousey-Correia fight, critics were saying that Ronda Rousey needed to fight “Cyborg” to prove that she really is the best female MMA fighter. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino hasn’t gotten a lot of press lately, but that’s only because Rousey has been in the limelight since she started winning match after match. Until Rousey came on the scene, Justino was considered the best female fighter, and a matchup between the two is now highly sought after.
The reason that the fight hasn’t happened yet, according to Rousey herself, is that Justino is up at a heavier weight class because of steroid use. Just as Rousey was beginning her professional career, Cyborg tested positive for steroids after defeating Hiroko Yamanaka in just 16 seconds. However, that was back in 2011. She has had plenty of time to get clean, and if she is, there’s no reason why a fight couldn’t happen. Even Dana White, the President of the UFC, has commented that this would be a huge fight. He’s estimated that it would bring at least 2.5 million pay per view buys. It’s a fight that would have the potential to break every record set by men’s fights, and it would bring in tons of money to the league.
So, when will it happen?
Rousey has no intention of making it happen soon. She’s enjoying her success, and there’s no reason for her to want to come down out of what is the current peak of her career by risking a loss. The money would have to be pretty impressive, much like the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was for even the loser, for her to want to do this. The UFC probably isn’t quite ready to take a risk like this, even if they were guaranteed 2.5 million viewers.
Justino is still fighting. She’s destroyed the competition at 145 pounds (Rousey fights at 135), and has passed every single drug test she’s taken since her failed one in 2011. Rousey did fight at Strikeforce like Justino currently does, but has moved up in levels, and has been credited with bringing women’s fighting to the UFC. They are both iconic fighters, and hopefully they will fight when both are in their prime, unlike the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. One of the critiques of that fight is that because it took so many years to put together, both boxers had lost some of their edge. It was, in a way, very anticlimactic, simply because of the lack of intensity that everyone expected. Getting the Rousey-Justino fight together sooner rather than later would avoid this.
Drawing on boxing again, a lot of people are comparing Rousey to Mike Tyson. Tyson, at the beginning of his career, was infamous for defeating his competition in the first round. And that’s exactly what Rousey has been doing. In her 10 fights with the UFC, she’s only been pushed beyond Round 1 once. Most of her fights end in less than one minute. Like with what happened with Mike Tyson, people will want to see Rousey face a real challenge. You can’t be the best if you don’t beat the best, and Cyborg was considered to be just that until Rousey stole the spotlight. It’s now time for Rousey to show what she’s capable of, and to do that, she will need to put some of her grudges aside. She’ll also need to place her fears aside.
For fantasy MMA fans, Rousey has been a huge point gatherer. She’s been expensive in every league, but she’s also been racking up huge points because of her dominance. That might change if she fought Justino, though. Still, it remains to be seen. And pretty much every MMA fan is trying to be patient about it.