Cris Cyborg and Dana White aren’t on the same page.
The UFC president recently appeared on the “UFC Unfiltered” podcast to address the Brazilian star’s status. Cyborg, one of the best female fighters in MMA, competes at 145 pounds, a weight division that doesn’t exist in the UFC, and has been forced to cut down to 140 pounds in her two appearances inside the Octagon.
White claimed officials offered her fights with bantamweights Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie at 145 pounds, but Cyborg declined.
“She turned down two 145-pound title fights,” White said, according to Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting. “One because she said she couldn’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks, and (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva’s like, ‘If she can’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks, 145 isn’t the right weight class for her either.'”
In a statement Tuesday, Cyborg explained that while White is correct that she passed on those fights, she did so because she was still recovering from the difficult weight cut that occurred before her win over Lina Lansberg this past September.
“The next day, like I always do after my fights, I did blood tests to see if everything was okay after a terrible weight cut,” Cyborg said. “And for the first time the nurses couldn’t take my blood, it was so thick it wouldn’t come out, so we couldn’t do tests. I was in treatment for 10 days with Dr. Ulisseia. I was in observation because I was feeling sick all the time …
“After all that, at home, I decided I would not fight at this weight anymore, that I would only fight at my division. And only with 12 weeks’ notice. For my last fight, they told me eight weeks before.”
The 31-year-old Invicta champion has repeatedly called for the UFC to establish a women’s featherweight division for her, but it appears the timing will have to be right for such an event to occur. She said she’s open to fighting again in March with proper notice.
When she returns, it will be without dietitian George Lockhart. The two worked together in Cyborg’s first two UFC fights to get her down to 140 pounds, but a disagreement over his methods appears to have driven a permanent wedge between them.
“In my last weight cut I almost died,” she said. “I was in the bathtub cutting weight, and I thought, ‘I will die in this bathtub.’ It was the worst weight cut in my life. My nutritionist George Lockhart, who by the way is a UFC employee, didn’t do an effective job with this birth control pill he indicated saying that would help me.
“But thank God, in a war, I made weight, cutting 24 pounds in a week. My body was retaining a lot of water. The last time I spoke with George Lockhart was in the locker room before my fight. He disappeared after the fight. I’m not working with him anymore.”