"The Download" with Dana White is a UFC.com exclusive interview with the boss, covering everything that's in the news. This week Dana talks about the potential Ronda Rousey vs. Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino fight.
Last Friday, Tito Ortiz, a former training partner of Cristiane Justino, told AXS-TV’s “Inside MMA” that the fighter better known as “Cyborg” was offered a fight against Ronda Rousey in December at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
There’s only one problem - the UFC won’t be in Texas in December.
“To show you that Tito Ortiz has no idea what he’s talking about, we’re not even doing the fight in Dallas, Texas,” UFC president Dana White told UFC.com on Monday. “The fight is going to be in Las Vegas at the MGM. Just to show you that Tito is absolutely talking out of his ass.”
Justino (14-1), the Invicta FC featherweight champion, had a seat at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Aug. 1. She witnessed Ronda Rousey’s destruction of her countrywoman Bethe Correia at HSBC Arena.
White was expecting to see a ferocious Cyborg backstage after the fight, chomping at the bit for the chance to be next in line for Rousey. This has been a superfight three years in the making.
But he never heard from Cyborg.
“I thought it was weird that she wasn’t screaming for this fight – that she wasn’t trying to make the weight and trying to make this fight happen,” White told UFC.com.
So White asked UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby to reach out to Justino - to see where the Invicta FC featherweight champ stood in regard to taking the necessary steps toward an eventual bout with Rousey.
The call Cyborg received was for a fight at 135 pounds – and not specifically against Rousey. White has maintained that in order for Justino to get a crack at Rousey, she has to make 135 pounds.
That’s why the UFC inked Cyborg to a recent deal, to fight at the 135 limit. The UFC doesn’t have a 145-pound division, so whether it’s against Rousey or anyone else, Cyborg would have to move down 10 pounds to compete inside the Octagon.
White’s call specifically addressed how close Cyborg was to making the weight.
“The deal we have with her is that she’ll make the weight and fight at 135,” White said. “We said to her: ‘What’s going on? Are we going to do this?’
“She was never offered a fight with Ronda anywhere. She has to make the weight, and then fight, and then we know she can do it and we do the fight with Ronda.”
The ball is in Justino’s court. The terms have been set, and White said that Rousey wants the fight badly. Cyborg has said -- and her team has implied -- that she is going to attempt a cut to 135.
The next step is up to her. A fight with Rousey won’t happen any other way.
Matt Parrino is the Digital Producer of UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrinoUFC