At the end of the month, one of the biggest women’s MMA fights of all-time will go down at UFC 219. Holly Holm will step into the Octagon to challenge Cris Cyborg for her women’s UFC featherweight title. A huge fight like this with such high stakes hearkens back to when Holm fought Ronda Rousey and finished her to become the women’s bantamweight champion in Australia. That feeling can’t help but conjure up images for Tito Ortiz of the fight that never was — Cris Cyborg versus Ronda Rousey — and he thinks the fans deserve to have that happen.
“I think the fans deserve [the fight between Cris Cyborg and Ronda Rousey]. Cris deserves it, and for sure I think Ronda deserves it after everything she’s said about Cris. If you’re ever gonna’ talk about somebody, at least step in the cage and try to prove yourself. But she’s afraid to do it, I understand. There’s many women who are afraid to fight Cris, and I’d just say the proof is in the pudding of how dangerous Cris truly is. If that fight’s in front of her it shows that UFC are able to once again put a great, huge fight together.”
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) December 6, 2017
“I think she’s past [trying to make that fight happen], but I know she still would love to do the fight. I know she still would love to put her hands on Ronda. That’s just the way that Cris works. She’s a very respectful woman, a very kind woman, but when it comes to fighting and somebody talks about her, she’s willing to step in and defend herself. So if that fight ever does come up I think it’ll be a huge payday for both fighters. [Holly Holm and Rousey are] two totally separate fighters and I think Cris wouldn’t be satisfied with just beating Holly as she would be satisfied to beat Ronda Rousey. I’m not sure of what the idea is in Ronda’s mind about what she’s gonna’ do with her future, if she’s coming back to fight ever, but Ronda Rousey versus Cris Cyborg would still be an amazing fight.” — Tito Ortiz speaking to Submission Radio.
If Holly Holm manages to beat Cyborg at UFC 219, she’ll have wins over two women’s MMA GOAT candidates, further cementing her place in combat history. If Cyborg retains her title, she will only confirm what fans and critics have said, which is that she’s the best women’s fighter on the planet. While it’s highly unlikely and long past due for a fight with Rousey, no doubt it’d still be a gigantic fight. Now it is much more likely that Ronda Rousey will be kicking off her new pro wrestling career at 2018’s Wrestlemania instead. Cyborg faces Holm on December 30th in Vegas.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/7/2017.