Cris Cyborg threatened to leave the UFC if a UFC Featherweight division wasn't created...but as it turns out, it was offered and she rejected the opportunity.
According to UFC President Dana White, the UFC was prepared to launch a featherweight division for Cris "Cyborg" Justino, but she shot down the idea because she couldn't make weight in two months.
“What’s crazy about that is this is I offered Cris Cyborg a title fight at 145 pounds a month ago,” White said on the latest UFC Unfiltered podcast. “She had eight weeks to get ready for it, she said she couldn’t make the weight, said she couldn’t make 145 pounds. I offered her another 145-pound title fight for Brooklyn (at UFC 208), she turned it down. She turned down two 145-pound title fights. One because she said she couldn’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks, and Joe Silva’s like, ‘If she can’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks, maybe 145 isn’t the right weight class for her either.’”
White elaborated on the deal with Cyborg, saying that she was originally supposed to make 135 pounds, but went back on the agreement. The company decided to instead create a 145 pound title specifically with her in mind, but she's had issues with that as well.
"When we did the deal with Cyborg we sat down with her and said, ‘If you can make it down to 135 pounds, maybe we can hire you a dietitian and help you get there and get you in the mix, get you a couple of with these girls and then fight Ronda (Rousey) for the title,’ and she was all in,” White told hosts Jim Norton and Matt Serra. “That’s why she signed the deal. She was having a hard time doing it, so she cut down to 140, then this whole thing about, ‘I can’t make 140 pounds.’ Finally, we said, ‘Fuck it, alright then, we’ll make a 145-pound title for you,’ and here we go. She said, ‘I can’t make 145 pounds in eight weeks.’ This doesn’t have to do with weight. It has nothing to do with weight cutting. I don’t know what it has to do with, so we’re going to figure it out.”
Dana White said that Cyborg was offered Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie for the championship fight and rejected both of them. White noted that while Holm was excited for the fight, her coach Mike Winkeljohn instructed her to turn it down. Cyborg claimed she couldn't take the fight with Holm due to a weight cut anyway, then flat out turned down de Randamie.
MMA Fighting spoke with Cris Cyborg, who released a statement about the decision, and her choice to not work with George Lockhart anymore. Fightful spoke with Cyborg about her issues with Lockhart in September.
In my last weight cut I almost died. 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.
For the first time I didn’t warm up in the locker room like I do for every fight because I was too weak. I was just praying for God and went for the fight, and, once again, God gave me the victory. After all this, I went back to my hometown on Sunday and I felt sick on Sunday. My mother gave me tea and I fell asleep. 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. 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.
You can see that I give no interviews after the fight. I told UFC Brazil PR Lilian (Caparroz) that I wanted to cancel all my interviews and couldn’t travel. 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.
I got a call from the UFC offering me another catchweight fight, and I said I would not fight at this weight anymore. I needed a break to get my health back to normal because my body was weak, I was anemic.
After that, they invited me to fight again, but this time at my weight and for the belt, but with 10 weeks’ notice. Knowing that I was recovering, like I said, I told them I can fight anyone in March, but I need to take care of my body, and no mention of the fact that I’m dealing with severe depression and can’t have another brutal weight cut like before. This decision is more important than the belt or the division, I’m thinking about my health.
I thank my fans. We did it! I’ll soon be fighting in my division, where I’m the world champion. You and God are loyal. I’ll be ready to fight in March.