After dispatching Holly Holm at UFC 219, who should Cris Cyborg face next?
FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Columnist
She should fight anyone who’s willing to fight her. That’s a vague and partly lame answer, but it’s the truth. If Amanda Nunes is willing to move up and fight her at featherweight, then that fight is one I want to see. I want to see her fight Megan Anderson, I want to see her fight anyone and everyone. I’m not saying pull people out of the crowd to fight her, but her fighting someone is better than her fighting no one. I want to see Cyborg fight and every time she does and wins, that target on her back gets bigger and bigger. The interest builds and builds. That should ideally draw more people to the division and provide more opponents.
JOHN HARRIS, MMATorch Contributor
Amanda Nunes. As we have learned in the past it is better to make a superfight when you can, than wait until it is too late. We got to see Chuck Liddle vs Wanderlei Silva but not in their primes and we still have not had Anderson Silva vs GSP. This is the biggest fight to make in women’s MMA, so it needs to happen now. Neither fighter has a clear top contender at their weight class so a catchweight fight or Nunes moving up makes the most sense.
DAVE KOULA, MMATorch Contributor
I suspect I’m in the minority for this one, but I feel really good about Megan Anderson being the next contender. I don’t love the idea of having to ship in contenders from the little leagues to fight the champion, but that’s the world we live in, and we have every reason to believe that in the legitimate featherweight division Anderson really is the best that’s out there at the moment. This would also be the only actual featherweight Cyborg has fought since she’s arrived in the UFC, and I think for her reign to have legitimacy, this fight should absolutely happen.
The Nunes fight is extremely attractive because I think she’s probably the only known commodity on the planet that is likely to give Cyborg a really tough fight. Nunes is in a position to really solidify herself as the best women’s Bantamweight in the short history of the division. A really great (and ideally exciting) performance in her next fight would make a really strong case for that. After Cyborg fights Anderson and Nunes fights Pennington (assuming she’s healthy) I would say that would clear out the obvious contenders at the moment and open the door for that superfight, just not yet.
RAFFAEL IGLESIAS, MMATorch Contributor
The UFC has painted themselves into a corner by creating an entire division around Cyborg. There are few options available for the champ. The natural call is to revisit the Megan Anderson fight, but does that excite anyone? The talk is that is her next opponent could be fellow champion Rose Namajunas. What does that fight mean? What weight? Are any belts on the line? The problem again is that it’s another opponent, fighting out of her weight class to fight Cyborg in a phantom division.
DYLAN BOWKER, MMATorch Contributor
The most compelling matchup is a super fight with UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. This will draw the most intrigue but interestingly seems to be the bout Cris is least keen on. Whenever Cyborg has addressed who her next opponent will be, names like Megan Anderson and former featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie come up. It seems like Cyborg is going for a more long-term play of establishing a full featherweight class for women in the UFC. This is admirable yet counterproductive to the money fight mindset that yearns for a Cyborg/ Nunes superfight. I would prefer Anderson to get the fight but wouldn’t be mad if Nunes stood opposite Cris the next time out.
MICHAEL HISCOE, MMATorch Contributor
Megan Anderson is the logical and, really, the only legitimate challenger for Cyborg at this point. Hopefully she can sort out her health issues and the fight can be made soon. If an alternative is necessary, a champion vs. champion fight with Amanda Nunes would be suitable.
SEAN COVINGTON, MMATorch Contributor
Well she should have to face Germaine de Randamie to actually be truly Undisputed even though de Randamie was stripped. It’s a fight we would want to see anyway. In all honesty Ronda Rousey, Misha Tate, someone from the “old guard”, should face her. There are no big fights for Cyborg for quite some time. Valentina Shevchenko maybe, but she has unfinished business with Amanda Nunes.
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