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"Maybe they wanted to protect her" - Cris Cyborg claims a Ronda Rousey fight was "never the goal" for UFC

Cris Cyborg (left) and Ronda Rousey (right) (Image via Getty)
Cris Cyborg (left) and Ronda Rousey (right) (Image via Getty)
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Ryan Harkness

Cris Cyborg never got to fight Ronda Rousey in what would have undoubtedly been the biggest fight in women's MMA history. In a new interview with The MMA Hour, she explained why.

Cyborg told Ariel Helwani:

"I think it was never the goal to make this fight happen. Because they had the opportunity. They had the opportunity. Maybe they protect her. She didn't want the fight, I think you cannot force. But I think it was never the goal. But I don't know, I just stayed behind the scenes, because Ronda was fighting UFC and I was fighting Invicta. Because the moment I was going to leave, I was going to to go to another event, and then I think they tried to hold me there. I was open to other events. But I think over there [in UFC] they can control me there, you know? I don't know."

Cris Cyborg fought at 145 pounds at a time when the division didn't exist in the UFC, so in 2015 the promotion signed her but kept her competing at Invicta FC events for another year. By the time they brought Cyborg into the UFC in 2016 for 140 pound catchweight fights, Ronda Rousey had lost to Holly Holm. Shortly after a women's 145 pound division was officially added, Rousey lost her comeback fight to Amanda Nunes and retired from MMA.

"[@CrisCyborg] is going after @RondaRousey the way Muhammad Ali stalked Sonny Liston." โ€” @WhitlockJason praises Cyborg trolling Rousey https://t.co/UMmLHhPsSP

When asked if she was disappointed that the fight never happened, Cyborg said:

"I have a lot of things that don't have happened, like me vs. Ronda, me vs. Amanada [Nunes] second fight. Never rematch. But this is no change in my legacy. Because you can't worry about something you can't control."

Watch the full episode of The MMA Hour where Cyborg talks about the Ronda Rousey fight below:

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Kayla Harrison wants to test herself against Cris Cyborg

The biggest WMMA fight that could come together right now is Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison vs. Cris Cyborg. Kayla Harrison is making it very clear that she wants the fight. Her promotion, the PFL, claims that they're more than willing to cross-promote with Cyborg's promotion, Bellator, to make the bout happen.

In a recent interview, Harrison said:

"That's my goal. I want to fight Cris Cyborg. I'm very willing to step in the cage with Cris Cyborg. Any day of the week, any time, any weight. I don't care if it's cross-promotion, co-promotion, CBS, ABC, ESPN, friggin' Disney, Showtime, Looney Tunes, Nickelodeon At Night, I really don't care. I just want to fight the best and she's one of the best."

Cyborg has also said she's interested in a fight with Harrison. Now all that's left is for the promotions to figure out logistics to make it happen.

PFL CEO Peter Murray wants to make Kayla Harrison vs. Cris Cyborg ๐Ÿ‘€ #TheMMAHour โ–ถ๏ธ youtu.be/mtTLZDHiMSc https://t.co/XbkvNVsETK

Edited by Ryan Harkness
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