The general consensus amongst everyone in the universe right now is there is no one left for Cris Cyborg to face. Not now, and not in the foreseeable future. I don’t know if I can argue that it’ll be easy to find someone for Cris to fight in 4 months, but that has less to do with the depth of the women’s divisions than the way WMMA has been booked and promoted thus far. There’s several women that I know of that could challenge Cris Cyborg in the near future, so strap in and prepare for a little women’s MMA education.
Why she’d be a challenge: You wouldn’t have to ask this if you’ve been following Ronda’s career thus far. Four pro fights and two ammy fights all finished by armbar in under a minute. She’s using that bronze medal level judo to throw everyone while simultaneously locking up the submission before they even hits the ground. She’s big enough to handle Cyborg’s power and has been competing against bully opponents in judo her whole life.
The roadblocks: Ronda left a life of judo with some shiny medals but not a lot of coin. She came into MMA to remedy that shortcoming, and has a very specific plan to maximize the amount of money she can make. That means going down to 135 and terrorizing the women down there until a superfight with Cyborg actually makes dollars and sense. They’re going to fight, but I wouldn’t expect it until late 2012, early 2013.
Germaine De Randamie
Why she’d be a challenge: Nicknamed The Iron Lady, De Randamie is kinda like the Cris Cyborg of the women’s kickboxing world. She transitioned over to MMA because it became so hard to find opponents. While her record is a meh 2-2 right now (most recently Julia Budd lay’n’prayed her at a Strikeforce Challengers show) she has the kind of striking experience needed to keep from wilting in the face of a Cyborg bum rush.
The roadblocks: Well, you can’t exactly get a title shot coming off a loss, can you. Can you? This is Strikeforce after all. MMA experience is also an issue – she’s still extremely raw in the wrestling and jiu jitsu areas. While she’s fought at 145 and is one cut bitch, she’s really a 135 pounder.
Why she’d be a challenge: How dangerous is Cris Cyborg off her back? This is a question we don’t really know the answer for because we’ve never seen it for longer than 10 seconds. McMann is an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling and has spent her 2011 pro debut year using that skill to dump her opponents onto the mat and keep them there. Physically she’s a beast and would be able to hang with Cyborg strength wise.
The roadblocks: McMann is currently signed to ProElite. She’s also spent her entire career at 135 pounds. Her standup isn’t anything to write home about yet.
Five more after the jump!
Why she’d be a challenge: Toughill is a first generation WMMA fighter who’s been around since 1999. She sent a similar tingle of fear through her opponents as Cyborg due to her size, strength, and penchant for violence. She’s fought at 160 pounds and is so big she’s had trouble hitting 145 pounds in the past. She was also a pro boxer with an 8-2-1 record and is best known for her fight against Laila Ali.
The roadblocks: She’s crazy. She’s also only had one fight in nearly three years and she lost. She spent over a year almost fighting for Strikeforce but never going through with it. Said she’s not willing to be a patsy for the promotion and wants to be built up, not thrown to the wolves.
Why she’d be a challenge: While she doesn’t have a highlight reel of flashy KOs or subs, Alexis is a well rounded fighter who keeps her cool in bad situations and has been tested by the best women across several weightclasses. She fights smart and methodical and isn’t afraid to grind against the cage or on the ground looking for an opening.
The roadblocks: None. She’s already fighting for Strikeforce and took out potential challenger Amanda Nunes in her last fight. Afterwards she said she’d be up for fighting Cyborg even though she’s a 135er.
Why she’d be a challenge: Nunes has long arms, fast hands, and knockout power. While we haven’t seen if she can take some serious punishment, she can certainly dish it out.
The roadblocks: She stumbled and didn’t look good against the more experienced and well rounded Alexis Davis in her last fight. She was outmuscled by Davis and her transition and ground games looked kinda poopy. Not really a 145 pounder.
Why she’d be a challenge: Holly comes from a boxing background where she was considered one of the best P4P females in the world. She’s now training with Greg Jackson to round out her fighting game. The boxing experience means she should be able to hang with Cyborg on the feet and can take a punch without wilting.
The roadblocks: She’s two fights into her MMA career and still green as baby shit. But if she continues to develop and improve, Holm could very well be the person to knock Cyborg off her pedestal of invincibility.
Why she’d be a challenge: Thus far Gina has done the best of any of Cyborg’s opponents. Take into consideration that she was not as serious about her training leading up to that fight as she should have been and halfway out the MMA door, and it means you probably didn’t see her perform to her full potential. While she wasn’t able to hang with Cyborg head to head, she still has the power to put her away if she manages to get into an advantageous position (and not give it up like in their last fight).
The roadblocks: She currently has BOTH feet out the MMA door now and there’s no sign that she’s particularly buzzed about getting back in. Beating Cyborg would require the best Carano we’ve ever seen, not a half-assing. And would Gina even fight Cyborg again? I have a feeling the fights she takes will be hand picked to help her career along outside the cage. A second fight with Cyborg probably doesn’t fit that bill.
Cyborg may seem invincible but she’s far from it. There are many questions that still need answers. What happens when one of her opponents weathers the storm? Can Cris keep up the pace for five rounds or will all that muscle sapp her constitution? How will she fare when someone puts her on her back? Will she be able to bumrush an opponent with better striking? No one has ever tried to wrestlefuck her either. Yes, she’s a scary woman. Yes, she’s undoubtedly top of the pack right now. But she is not invincible, and I’d put money on one of the women in this list eventually defeating her.
In the end, the question isn’t so much who can fight Cris Cyborg but why would they? You either win and have no one to fight or you lose and have no one to fight. There effectively isn’t a proper division at the moment, and so long as Strikeforce’s booking scheme revolves around feeding 145ers to Cyborg, it’ll stay like that. Let’s hope they invests the room on their cards to allow the women’s divisions to develop to a point where fighting Cris Cyborg isn’t the only stop on the female featherweight express.