Two time Olympic gold medalist and current undefeated PFL female lightweight Kayla Harrison (5-0-0) weighed in heavily on the Cris Cyborg (21-2-0, 1NC) saga in an interview with TMZ Sports released today.
Harrison came out swinging, saying she would beat Cyborg if she came to the PFL and critiquing her striking as a brawler.
But let’s revisit Cyborg’s current dilemma for a moment.
According to president Dana White, the UFC is ready to release Cyborg after critical comments from the former featherweight champion demanding an apology from White alleging bullying and harassing her prior to her company arrival in 2016.
White responded with a video explaining his comments were taken out of context and that he thought Cyborg was using it as a “smokescreen” to duck a rematch with current champion Amanda Nunes.
Cyborg has denied the allegations about not wanting to fight Nunes. She then posted a video showing her confronting White backstage at UFC 240 in Edmonton but according to her, the video was altered with incorrect subtitles and dialogue from White.
Cyborg has publicly apologized for the edited video. Her current status with the UFC is still unconfirmed.
Then, Bellator CEO Scott Coker announced that he would like to sign Cyborg if she is indeed a free agent. Featherweight champion Julia Budd chimed in as well.
So it’s interesting that Harrison, who previously trained judo with former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and currently trains at American Top Team with Amanda Nunes among others, has thrown her hat into the Cyborg cage.
Interesting, but not surprising.
Harrison has run over everyone in the PFL. But as she said, she’s still an “embryo” and still learning. And the fact is until the loss to Nunes, Cyborg was considered the GOAT for a long time.
Those who are writing Cyborg off as washed up are premature.
We need the rematch to happen first before we can even approach that conclusion. Cyborg would be much better prepared the second time around.
An impressive win over Cyborg would be a significant accomplishment for Harrison, any way you slice it.
But there are opportunities here for Cyborg, if she is indeed a free agent: She could run the table in the PFL and take out the next big thing in Harrison for a cool $1 million USD.
Or, she could go to Bellator and take out Budd. With the right offer from Coker, it could be quick and lucrative.
Or, she could make amends with the UFC and rematch Nunes, then leave. She could regain her GOAT status with a win over the “Lioness” and then take out Budd or Harrison. Or both.
In fact, she could go anywhere.
But Cyborg vs. Harrison makes the steak sizzle more. And for $1 million USD, it increases the stakes (no pun intended) to a pay-per-view level.
This could make up for the Cyborg vs. Rousey debacle that we never got to see in the UFC.
Cyborg appears to be in the driver’s seat. Everyone is sending messages to her, but she is doing the right thing in taking her time to let the offers marinate. Still, the clock may start to tick loudly if she slow plays her hand.
At any rate, somebody should be sending a message to the PFL brass:
Get a Cyborg deal done. Now.