Cris “Cyborg” Justino will still fight for the UFC women’s featherweight title on July 29 but she has a new opponent.
Invicta FC champion Megan Anderson was forced out of UFC 214 due to ‘personal’ reasons and there’s still no indication when she’ll be able to return to action. For her part, Cyborg was obviously disappointed after she campaigned for weeks to fight Anderson only to see the bout cancelled within weeks of being confirmed for the card in Anaheim, Calif.
“I am disappointed I won’t get an opportunity to fight Megan July 29th,” Cyborg said. “I think she owes me a fight. Maybe when Conor Mcgregor returns in December we could give the fans that fight.”
With Anderson out of the picture, the UFC welcomed Invicta FC bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger to the card where she will bump up to 145 pounds to face Cyborg in July.
Evinger is no stranger to accepting the toughest fights offered to her, which is why Cyborg is more than happy with the replacement opponent she received. If anything, Cyborg believes that Evinger should have been competing in the Octagon much sooner than getting the call to replace Anderson, which only furthers her frustration with the ranking system at the UFC.
“Tonya is a real fighter,” Cyborg added. “She is as tough as they come and will bring the fight to me the entire time. She is a great wrestler and a real grinder who will not give up. The fact that Tonya Evinger has gone 10-0 and still isn’t in the UFC shows the need for rankings to be done independently.
“Tonya Evinger has been top 10 in the world at 135 pounds for a long time and has earned the opportunity to fight on the biggest stage. July 29th, I am expecting Tonya Evinger to give me the type of fight that can help us both earn our first UFC performance bonus.”
While the opponent has changed, the stakes for the fight have stayed exactly the same with Cyborg competing for the women’s featherweight title — a division where she’s already been rated as the top fighter for many years.
The UFC crowned an inaugural champion at 145 pounds earlier this year when Germaine de Randamie defeated Holly Holm before she was stripped of the title just recently after she refused to face Cyborg.
As much as the title might mean to some, Cyborg insists that wrapping UFC gold won’t change that much for her because she knows deep down inside that she’s already been the champion this entire time.
“The belt has never been my goal. I am the champ,” Cyborg said. “My fans appreciate the fact that this fight is going to be for the belt, but the fact that the UFC had [Germaine de Randamie] as champion and not me has never been a problem for me.
“Cyborg Nation knows that until someone beats me I am world champion at 145 pounds no matter what belt is around my waist. The thing that excites me the most about fighting for the UFC belt, is I know the fans of Brazil have a sense of pride when they see us bring their belts back home! I am sure my fight July 29th will be one of the most watched fights in Brazilian MMA this year!”