According to longtime and respected MMA media member Ariel Helwani, the UFC is seriously considering having Cris “Cyborg” Justino compete at UFC 198 in her hometown of Curitiba, Brazil.

This is potentially huge news, as Cyborg is easily the best female fighter in the world not competing in the UFC, but this is still far from a done deal and there are many questions that will need to be answered in order for Cyborg’s potential UFC debut to move forward.

While Zuffa – the UFC’s parent company – does own the rights to Cyborg’s contract, the organization does not currently feature a women’s featherweight division. That might not sound like a huge hurdle but it’s bigger than you may think.

If the UFC brings Cyborg in and allows her to fight at 145 – her preferred weight class – then they either have to bring in another featherweight to face her or have one of their existing bantamweights move up for the bout. Unless the UFC is planning on introducing a new women’s weight class, then scheduling a one-off fight for Cyborg makes no long term sense whatsoever.

However, if Cyborg is willing to compete at a 140 pound catchweight, then her potential debut becomes much more likely to happen. If Cyborg can make 140 in a debut fight, there is no reason to believe she wouldn’t be able to get down to 135 down the road. Fighting at 140 also means that the UFC could easily tap the talent in their women’s bantamweight stable.

A catchweight fight against Miesha Tate doesn’t make sense at this point since she just won the title, and Ronda Rousey isn’t ready to get back in the cage so those two are out. But fights against Holly Holm, Amanda Nunes or Cat Zingano all make a lot of sense. All three are at the top of the division and all three would represent real challenges for Cyborg.

As a fan and MMA enthusiast, it would be great to finally see Cyborg compete inside the Octagon. She is an incredible fighter and more than deserving of an opportunity in the spotlight. But we’ve been down this road before – more than a few times – and nothing has ever come together. Let’s hope for the best and temper our excitement for the time being.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.