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Cyborg (20-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC), the former UFC women’s featherweight champion, will complete the final fight on her current UFC contract on Saturday when she meets Felicia Spencer in the UFC 240 co-headliner. There appears to be serious friction between the Brazilian and the UFC brass as of late, and it appears to stem from negotiations for a contract extension, which would revolve around a potential Nunes (18-4 MMA, 10-1 UFC) rematch.
Nunes, of course, ended Cyborg’s more-than-decade-long unbeaten streak at UFC 232 in December with a stunning 51-second knockout. Since then, White has repeatedly expressed thar he doesn’t think Cyborg wants to run it back.
Those statements have caused noticeable frustration from Cyborg, but regardless of her emotions, White is adamant in his stance.
“She loves me; we’re really good friends, her and I,” White joked while talking to reporters, including MMA Junkie, following a Wednesday UFC press conference in Las Vegas. “She’s mad at me again for some reason. Listen: I’m not saying anything negative about Cyborg. She does not want to fight Amanda Nunes. That is a fact. Why she would be mad at me because she doesn’t want to fight Amanda Nunes is beyond me. I have no problem with Cris. I said many times earlier when she first came in there were obviously some things we had to squash and fix, and I thought we had done that. I’ve had a decent working relationship with her. Believe me, I’ve had much worse.
“I have no ill will toward her, and when I say she doesn’t want to fight Amanda, and I say that I don’t blame her, I’m not talking about her or being negative toward her. These are facts. Amanda Nunes wants to fight Cyborg. We want to make an Amanda Nunes vs. Cyborg fight. Cyborg does not. That’s a fact.”
White understands there are some additional circumstances to the situation, but he doesn’t think it complicates things too much. Cyborg, who has been on the UFC roster since 2015, is now on the cusp of free agency and has said she is keen to test the open market and see her value with other promoters.
The UFC has allowed numerous notable fighters in recent years to complete their deals and check out the alternatives. Some have parted ways with the promotion, while others have stayed put.
White said there have been attempts to reach a new deal with Cyborg, and if she doesn’t want to do something long-term that would keep her in UFC if a Nunes rematch didn’t go her way, the UFC boss is willing to do something different.
“I believe that my guys have been trying to get a new deal done with her,” White said. “Obviously, if we’re trying to make the Amanda Nunes fight, we’re trying to get a new deal done, too.
“Of course (I still want her around). It’s not like we’re trying to chase her out of here. We’re trying to get something done here. We’re trying to get another fight. Or, if she wanted to, she could do a one-fight deal and fight Amanda.”
If Cyborg were to win a potential Nunes rematch, though, the UFC’s standard “champion’s clause” would keep her put with the promotion. White is open to trying that, though, and if Cyborg isn’t willing, he said that reaffirms his stance about her not wanting to fight Nunes again.
“Sure (I would do a one-fight deal),” White said. “She doesn’t want to fight Amanda Nunes. Period. End of story. She wouldn’t be a free agent (if she won). She’d have the belt and there’s a clause that goes along with the belt. So it wouldn’t really be a (one-fight deal).”
News | MMA Junkie