Cris Cyborg rules out UFC return ahead of pro boxing debut


Cris Cyborg UFC
Cris Cyborg, UFC 240 weigh-ins Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Former UFC women’s featherweight champion and current Bellator MMA champion Cris Cyborg has ruled out a return to the Octagon, barring major organizational changes.

A champion in every major promotion she has competed for – Strikeforce, Invicta FC, UFC and Bellator MMA – Cyborg (26-2, 1NC) has had a tumultuous relationship with Dana White and co. The UFC initially refused to open a women’s featherweight division after Cyborg’s signing, insisting the Brazilian make a grueling weight cut to 140lbs for fights in the catchweight division. While she would win gold when the featherweight division was opened to the ladies, the women’s fighting legend had a frosty relationship with her boss, not helped by White’s past jabs at her, including the infamous “Wanderlei Silva in a dress” taunt.

Cyborg’s run in the UFC ended in 2019. Last December, she lost her title to Amanda Nunes; a rematch was pursued but never materialized. Instead, she left the company after defeating Felicia Spencer at UFC 240.

Asked about a return to the UFC ahead of her professional boxing debut on September 25 in her native Brazil, Cyborg told MMA Junkie that unless the UFC decides to start paying its fighters, her time there is over.

“This chapter is closed,” Cyborg announced on the website. “They really don’t want to make the fights they want from me and they really don’t want to pay the fighters. So if they start paying fighters then maybe we can sit down but I believe I have to think about my future [rather] than just thinking about my ego.

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Earlier this year, Cyborg appeared in a music video produced by Jake Paul, slamming Dana White and the UFC over pay levels and treatment of fighters. Needless to say, the fighter’s salary had been on her mind for some time.

Cyborg will take on Simone Silva in Brazil at Fight Music Show 2 on September 25, 2022 in her professional boxing debut. After that could be the next defense of her Bellator women’s featherweight title, potentially against Cat Zingano.

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