UFC 232: Cris Cyborg says Amanda Nunes 'going to pay' for delaying title fight
Cyborg (20-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), the UFC women’s featherweight champion, will attempt to defend her belt against bantamweight titleholder Nunes (16-4 MMA, 9-1 UFC) in the December co-headliner in what is the first women’s champion-vs.-champion matchup in UFC history.
Serious talks of the matchup began following Cyborg’s victory over Holly Holm at UFC 219 in December. Nunes was eager to make it happen, as well, but wanted time to proper bulk up to a new weight class. That timeline didn’t sit well with Cyborg.
“I don’t have any problem (with Amanda),” Cyborg told reporters, including MMAjunkie, at a recent UFC 232 press conference. “I just accept the fight with her after I fight Holly Holm and she asks for nine months for training for this fight. I think when you call someone out you have to be ready. You don’t have to need nine months to be ready.”
As talks of Cyborg vs. Nunes were ongoing, Cyborg was called for a short-notice title defense against Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222 in March after original headliner Max Holloway fell out due to injury. Nunes then defended her 135-pound belt against Raquel Pennington at UFC 224 in May, and talks of her moving up were at an all-time high.
Cyborg, 33, said she then pushed for the fight to happen at UFC 228 in September. She claims Nunes, 30, insisted she still needed more time, though, and was forced to wait until UFC 232. The wait has been agitating, she said.
“I accepted to fight her Sept. 8 after she called me out six months before,” Cyborg said. “She signed the deal to fight in December. As fighters you don’t have the option, you have to wait. You have to keep training and wait. But she’s going to pay in December.”
UFC 232 takes place Dec. 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Cyborg vs. Nunes co-headlines the pay-per-view main card following prelims expected for FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.
Cyborg, the No. 1 fighter in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA women’s pound-for-pound rankings, is considered by most to be the dominant female fighter in MMA history. She will bring a 21-fight unbeaten streak into the matchup with No. 2-ranked Nunes, who has defended her belt three times.
The matchup of champions at UFC 232 is arguably the most high-level fight in women’s MMA history. Cyborg doesn’t appear to feel threatened, though, because she already sees the key to victory against her fellow Brazilian.
“I train for everything,” Cyborg said. “I have five rounds. I watched a couple fights of Amanda and I know she likes to do the pressure, but she don’t like when fighters put pressure on her. I’m the pressure. When she throws her best punch at me, I’m going to be the pressure. She’s going to feel that.”