The UFC 219 main event will be one of the most important bouts in MMA history, as UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg makes her first defense of the title, taking on former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm.
And if one were to ask UFC President Dana White, he’d say this bout is for more than just a title. On an appearance on FOX Sports 1’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd, White claimed that this is the biggest fight in the careers of both women. If Cyborg wins, he says, it will solidify her status as a true champion.
But if Holm wins, White feels it will make her the greatest of all-time in women’s MMA history.
“This is the true test for Cris Cyborg,” White said. “If you look at Holly Holm: 13-time world boxing champion, multiple time kickboxing champion, beat Ronda Rousey and won the UFC title. Now Holm is moving up to 145 pounds and she’s actually a real 145-pounder — she’s tall, she’s big, she’s thick.
“If Holly Holm wins this weekend, how can you argue that she’s not the greatest fighter of all time – female fighter?”
In November 2015, at UFC 193, Holm shocked the world by knocking out the once-considered unbeatable Ronda Rousey, knocking her out in epic fashion with a head kick, to win the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. But at UFC 196 about four months later, Holm lost the title in her first defense to Miesha Tate. She then lost a July 2016 bout to Valentina Shevchenko.
At UFC 208 back in February, Holm had a chance to become the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champ but she lost a controversial decision to Germaine de Randamie, who later vacated the title. Holm rebounded with a knockout of Bethe Correia this past June.
Cyborg has often been considered one of the top women’s competitors for years, and a fight between her and Rousey was always dreamed about but never fulfilled. Her G.O.A.T. status, however, has come under scrutiny with some claiming she’s never had to face extraordinary talent at the 145-pound weight division.
This could go the same for her days in the UFC. Prior to the establishment of the women’s featherweight division in the UFC, Cyborg fought two bouts at a catchweight of 140 pounds, winning both fights. This past July, at UFC 214, she defeated former Invicta FC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Tonya Evinger to win the then-vacant UFC Women’s Featherweight Title. Cyborg was supposed to face Invicta Women’s Featherweight Champion Megan Anderson, but Anderson pulled from the bout a month before the event due to injury.
For Cyborg, Holm may represent the first true test for her — someone who can match her size, speed, and power.
“For Cris Cyborg, to win this fight, obviously it’s a big fight for her. I think Holly Holm is her first real, true test. As far as the fight goes, Cyborg is a very aggressive fighter, knockout puncher, likes to move forward, aggressive and Holly Holm is a counterpuncher. She’s a great counterpuncher, and I actually expect this to be a great fight.”