'Cyborg' Justino: Ronda Rousey doesn't need title to fight me

ByBrett Okamoto ESPN logo
Saturday, July 23, 2016

Cris "Cyborg" Justino clearly hasn't abandoned the idea of fighting Ronda Rousey.

Justino went on the offensive against her longtime rival in a lengthy social media post Friday, calling for the two to fight at UFC 205 on Nov. 12.

Justino's post played off a recent column penned by Rousey for Refinery29.com titled "A Lesson in Imperfection." Among other things, Justino questioned Rousey as a role model.

"When we worry about marketing an image created by the media, our bigger goals are sacrificed," she wrote. "You can't look up because your face is in a pillow after being the bully and getting your ass kicked. Being humble enough to not believe the hype around you can be difficult.

"When I see little girls rocking their 'DNB' shirts," she said, referring to Rousey's trademark, which stands for "Do Nothing B----, "and Reebok shoes in the supermarket, I think about what poor examples of sportsmanship you have displayed. I think about you cursing [Holly Holm] at the weigh-ins, refusing to shake Miesha Tate's hand following your victory, and all of the mean things you have said about me and my family."

A fight between Justino (16-1) and Rousey (12-1) tantalized fight fans for years. The two went back and forth in headlines, where Rousey was especially critical of a positive drug test Justino submitted in 2011.

The matchup never came to fruition, though, mostly because Justino couldn't make Rousey's 135-pound weight limit. Justino fights at 145 pounds, and the UFC and Rousey were never willing to book a catchweight bout.

The chances of them meeting took a serious hit in November, when Rousey suffered a stunning knockout loss to Holm at UFC 193. Rousey has been relatively quiet since; however, UFC president Dana White has repeatedly said she will return at some point near the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Justino made her UFC debut in May, knocking out Leslie Smith in the first round of a 140-pound fight at UFC 198 in Curitiba, Brazil. The UFC still does not promote Justino's 145-pound weight class.

According to White, Rousey will receive an immediate title shot at 135 pounds when she does return. The belt is now held by Amanda Nunes, who submitted Tate at UFC 200. Justino, who does not have a fight scheduled, said she would like to see Rousey fight her instead, at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden.

"I'm not trying to inspire you to suddenly become a better person, or become anything you're not," Justino wrote. "But there was a time in your life when you told people you wanted to fight me. Maybe you didn't quite understand the way the world worked then, but you also didn't care what anyone thought.

"I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that you don't need to be the champ to fight me.

"The media made you out to be the greatest female fighter of all time, and that is beautiful, because now everyone knows the real reason why you avoided a fight against Cris Cyborg. P4P #1 in the World for WMMA according to ESPN."