How should UFC be using Cris Cyborg? As a special attraction at 140 lbs? Exclusively for Invicta? Or should UFC open a 145 lb. women’s division?
Robert Valejos, MMATorch contributor
At some point a reasonable compromise to let Cyborg fight at 145 should be reached. If the UFC truly feels that not enough fighters exist to build an entire division, would it hurt to have her Invicta title defenses on UFC programming? While this should not become normal practice, the UFC would be wise to find a way to capitalize on Cyborg before her career is over. At the very least, if her fights on UFC television or pay-per-view bring extra attention to Invicta, UFC Fight Pass would be the ultimate benefactor.
Jason Amadi, MMATorch columnist
Competitively, Cyborg is everything the UFC promoted Ronda Rousey to be. She’s a buzzsaw who has torn through everyone for more than ten years. UFC acknowledges her star power, but for whatever reason seem determined to undermine it at every turn. Cyborg should be a special attraction and should only ever entertain catchweight fights against the biggest names the UFC has to offer.
Part of me believes she is only under contract to keep her away from Scott Coker, but even if that’s true it makes no sense for the UFC to make less use of her than Bellator would. Cyborg should be a special attraction fighter for the UFC, competing at featherweight, and should only entertain catchweight bouts against the biggest names the UFC has to offer at bantamweight. Anything else is an insult to her and a waste of one of the biggest potential stars in the sport.
Jonathan Cervantes, MMATorch contributor
Use her in Invicta for now. The UFC needs to develop more marketable and bankable fighters in the featherweight division before integrating it into the UFC. Unlike the case with Ronda Rousey, the UFC cannot build an entire division around Cyborg. She just doesn’t have the “it” factor needed to draw numbers big enough to warrant adding a new division. Aside from just Cyborg, many of the fighters in Invicta were fighters who fought in the UFC’s bantamweight division but did not perform well enough to stay. Given the current list of rankings in Invicta, the UFC needs to work on attracting more talent in the division and maybe even doing a TUF season catered to Invicta to see an influx of fresh and talented fighters added to the ranks.
Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor
UFC needs to fully commit to Cris Cyborg or just cut and run. Cyborg has made it very clear through her actions and her words that she has zero intention of fighting at 135 lbs., and listening to her talk about how people need to move up to fight her is getting old. One of UFC’s choices are to create a 145 lb. division and bring in fighters who actually fight at that weight to fill out the division.
The downside of this is it adds one more belt to the promotion that already has a problem with watered down championships that are too hard for the average fan to keep track of. Another option is to keep her in Invicta fighting at 145 lbs., but if that’s the long term plan, she’s probably not worth what they’re paying her as Invicta shows run in small buildings and air on Fight Pass. In that case, they should just let her go and risk her going to Bellator where she may pop a rating from time to time but Bellator will have the same problem of not being able to find viable opponents for her and the act will run its course rather quickly.
My instinct is to keep her and start a 145 lb. division, but I’ll reserve some judgement until ratings come in for Saturday’s fight, though. If they’re anything less than average, I would say it’s safe to end the Cyborg experiment and let her test the free agent market.
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