While a champion vs. champion superfight between Nunes and Cyborg seemed to be all but a done deal following Cyborg’s recent victory over Yana Kunitskaya at UFC 222, the bout is quickly fading into obscurity.
Nunes had been calling for the bout for months. Cyborg was initially reluctant for the Brazilian vs. Brazilian match-up, but said she was open to it because Nunes called her out. UFC president Dana White has long been a supporter of the fight, even saying it was the next fight to make after Cyborg’s UFC 222 victory.
Cyborg didn’t want to fight Nunes in the UFC 224 main event in May in Brazil, saying it was too soon after having fought three times over the past seven months, but she was hopeful they could make the match-up as part of the UFC 226 fight card during International Fight Week in July.
While that timeline would seem to be a little tight, but workable if Nunes emerges unscathed from her title defense against Raquel Pennington at UFC 224, the bantamweight queen now appears to be the one pulling away from the fight.
Amanda Nunes Now Has Bantamweight Business Before Cris Cyborg
“When I texted Dana White that I wanted the fight (with Cyborg), it was because I didn’t have nobody in my division. I didn’t even know if I was gonna fight soon,” Nunes said on a recent edition of the UFC “Unfiltered” podcast. “I was concerned with waiting years because I’ve been in that position before, waiting so long for a fight, and I don’t want to do it again. I don’t want to stay here waiting, waiting, waiting.
“But now, we have Rocky (Pennington) and we have the Brazilian, Ketlen (Vieira), and I feel like my division is starting to grow. If you give attention, the division’s gonna be awesome and now I have two. I have Rocky and I have Ketlen. Rocky is my next step and I want to see Ketlen after, for sure.”
Though Vieiera could wait until after a fight with Cyborg, as Nunes would have to move up to 145 pounds for a fight with Cyborg to happen and would retain her bantamweight belt win or lose, Nunes seemed to indicate that her preference is to fight Pennington and then face Vieira in her next defense, if she is successful at UFC 224.
“I think she’s deserving, after this fight against Rocky,” Nunes said. “She beat the girl that beat me. I think she’s ready and I’m excited to fight her.”
Amanda Nunes Tired of Protracted Contract Negotiations
Aside from feeling that her division now has legitimate contenders, Nunes also doesn’t want to deal with what she thinks would be protracted negotiations for a superfight with Cyborg, although protracted negotiations are often reflective of the importance of the fight and the more significant amount of money involved.
“Have a lot of things involved in (a fight with Cyborg),” Nunes said. “Having the contract for her, for me, it has to make sense for both of us, so we can do this. It’s nothing personal against Cyborg. I know she’s Brazilian. She talks about because we’re Brazilian we’re not supposed to fight. When you become a professional fighter, to become the best, you want to beat the best.
“It’s nothing personal, but I feel like there’s a lot of things involved in that (fight) and I don’t want to wait for that. I want to keep fighting, I don’t want to wait to negotiate anything. Right now, my division has a new contender and I’m excited for that. Whatever happens after that, we’ll see.”