Under The Radar: Cyborg vs Nunes
Even before the latest Jon Jones situation rose to the surface, there was seemingly very little talk or hype about the co-main event at UFC 232 between the reigning UFC featherweight champion Cris Cyborg defending her belt against the current bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.
All the attention was focussed on the return of the troublesome but supremely gifted inside the cage Jones and very little on Cyborg fighting Nunes, which deserves main event status in its own right.
Both Cyborg and Nunes share similar stories in their UFC tenures, both deserving of far more promotion then they have so far received in their championship reigns. Cyborg (20-1 1NC) as I have said numerous times before is a champion in a division which doesn’t really exist. Having to fight an endless run of bantamweight challengers trying to parade as featherweights isn’t the best use of Cyborg’s talents. Only Holly Holm was anywhere near her ability, a division needed building around her which hasn’t happened and there are no signs that will change anytime soon.
While Nunes (16-4) follows the same pattern as before, but despite being yet another bantamweight she looks on paper at least, to be Cyborg’s toughest test to date. Almost criminally under-promoted in her run as the champion, her resume of beating the likes of Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey and Valentina Shevchenko is by far the best of any other women’s MMA fighter.
With Rousey now in the WWE universe and the UFC desperate for new stars, both Cyborg and Nunes is a case of missed opportunities. With a little bit more of a push either fighter could be so much bigger.
But at UFC 232 there is that chance to make their point inside the Octagon. Almost two years to the day since Nunes lit Rousey up like a Xmas tree at UFC 207, she has another golden ticket to defeat another legend of the sport. Nunes with a win over Cyborg has every right to call herself the best women’s MMA fighter ever, a claim she could make now in all honesty.
For Cyborg this is a legitimate test, by far her toughest, a test she has craved since she started her UFC run in May 2016. A win for Cyborg would put her in a unique position of totally cleaning out two divisions at the same time.
I have a feeling that whatever Jones does come fight night, neither Cyborg or Nunes will be going under the radar in all the post fight talk.