When Cris Cyborg made her UFC debut in May of 2016, she did so at 140 pounds in a catchweight fight against Leslie Smith. At that time, the UFC had yet to create a women’s featherweight division, and Cyborg was adamant that she wouldn’t be able to make the bantamweight limit of 135 pounds. After running through Smith in under 90 seconds, Cyborg then fought Lina Lansberg in a highly anticipated showdown in Brazil.
On the heels of Cyborg going 2-0 inside the Octagon, the UFC announced that they were creating a women’s featherweight division. Unfortunately for Cyborg, at that time she was suspended by USADA as a result of a pill she took to help her recover from the brutal weight cut leading up to the Lansberg fight.
After being cleared by USADA, Cyborg was set to fight Megan Anderson for the vacant featherweight title, however Anderson then backed out of the fight. After selecting Invicta FC women’s bantamweight champion Tonya Evinger as Cyborg’s opponent, the Cris Cyborg title fight was back on track for UFC 214.
Ahead of the fight, UFC President Dana White spoke to MMAJunkie to discuss the rocky relationship between Cyborg and the UFC, saying:
“She’s had a rough go here in the UFC. She hasn’t been thrilled with things that have been said, things that have been done. And to be honest with you, ‘Cyborg.’ So the least we can do is get our (expletive) together and get this woman a fight for the title.”
“We signed ‘Cyborg,’ we made a commitment to ‘Cyborg,’ and not everything is easy and not everything is as fun as other divisions or whatever, but we made a commitment to this woman.”
On July 29th, Cyborg will have the opportunity to claim UFC gold and cement her place as the best women’s featherweight fighter in the world.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com= on 6/30/2017.