In 2016, Invicta FC women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg successfully made her UFC debut earlier this year when she successfully defeated Leslie Smith at UFC 198 back in May. Given that Cyborg competes in the women’s featherweight division under the Invicta banner, her fight with Smith was a catchweight fight of 140 pounds. In her second Octagon appearance, Cyborg defeated Swedish striker Lina Lansberg via TKO in the second round of their ‘UFC Fight Night: Sao Paulo’ main event scrap.
Despite that, it’s been well documented that Cyborg struggles to make the catchweight limit of 140 pounds. Leading up to both of her scheduled UFC scraps, Cyborg was forced to cut a tremendous amount of weight, to the point that cameras caught the Invicta champ crying while attempting to cut weight. In addition, leading up to her last fight, Cyborg was forced to cut 10 pounds in just 24 hours in order to make 140 pounds.
Because of this, Cyborg has been campaigning for the UFC to make a women’s featherweight division built around her. While UFC President Dana White has remained adamant that there aren’t enough top ranked female fighters competing at 145 pounds for the UFC to create a women’s featherweight division, he recently revealed that the UFC offered Cyborg two UFC title fights at 145 pounds, both of which she turned down.
He spoke to UFC Unfiltered:
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“What’s crazy about that is this: I offered Cris Cyborg a title fight at 145 pounds a month ago,” White told the UFC Unfiltered podcast. “She had eight weeks to get ready for it, she said she couldn’t make the weight, said she couldn’t make 145 pounds.
“So then I offered her another 145-pound title fight for Brooklyn (UFC 208), she turned it down. She turned down two 145-pound title fights. One because she said she couldn’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks, and Joe Silva’s like, ‘If she can’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks, 145 isn’t the right weight class for her either.’”
“First of all, obviously when we did the deal with Cyborg we sat down with her and said, ‘Listen, if you can make it down to 135 pounds, maybe we can hire you a dietitian and help you get there or whatever, and get you in the mix, get you a couple of with these girls and then fight Ronda (Rousey) for the title,’ and she was all in,” White said. “That’s why she signed the deal. Then she was having a hard time doing it, so she cut down to 140, then this whole thing about, ‘I can’t make 140 pounds.’ Finally, we just said, ‘Fuck it, alright then, we’ll make a 145-pound title for you,’ and here we go. She said, ‘I can’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks.’
“This doesn’t have to do with weight. Obviously it has nothing to do with weight cutting. I don’t know what it has to do with, so we’re gonna figure it out.”