It looks like the first superfight of 2018 has finally gotten close to becoming official. Dana White said it was the fight to make. Amanda Nunes has wanted it for some time in her quest to become a two-weight champion. Cris Cyborg has said she agreed with her management for it to happen. So, it seems like UFC featherweight champion will attempt to defend her belt against UFC bantamweight title holder Amanda Nunes. Reluctant to accept at first, Cyborg recently has gone on record saying she thinks Nunes needs this fight for money and to increase her fame.
“Amanda [Nunes] fought Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate with big pay-per-view numbers. The reality though is that the UFC promoted her opponents more than her, and after having to fight on her own brand she struggled to sell 100,000 pay-per-views against [Valentina] Shevchenko. Amanda knows my name sells pay-per-views and without it her brand isn’t strong enough to sell enough pay-per-views to reach her bonus incentives in her contract.”
— #CYBORGVsNUNES #UFC226 (@criscyborg) January 23, 2018
“I have three fights remaining on my UFC contract and one of them will be Amanda Nunes. I am going to let my manager negotiate when and where that fight happens. If the UFC feels she is the next Conor McGregor, then I think the fight needs to happen on one of the blockbuster 2018 fight cards. The UFC paid Ronda Rousey $3 million dollars to fight Amanda Nunes and Miesha got to fight Amanda as a main event with Brock Lesnar fighting on her pay-per-view. I would like that same type of exposure if I’m fighting her ahead of the girls at 145 pounds. People forget Amanda Nunes was TKO’d by Alexis Davis at 145. She wasn’t a champ in Invicta or Strikeforce.” — Cris Cyborg speaking to FloCombat.
While it’s true that Cris Cyborg can draw well headlining a fight night against Lina Lansberg — which did clocked in at 1.1 million viewers — her biggest UFC successes were also due in part to being featured on large cards featuring bigger names just like her criticisms of Amanda Nunes. Besides UFC 219, Cyborg fought Leslie Smith in her UFC debut at UFC 198, which was headlined by Stipe Miocic and Fabricio Werdum. Her defeat of Tonya Evinger at UFC 214 was the third fight on a card which had Jon Jones fighting Daniel Cormier. Regardless of Cyborg’s or Nunes’ numbers, no question this fight would be huge.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/24/2018.