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Cris 'Cyborg' Justino 'looking really good' to get exemption for banned substance

NEW YORK -- UFC president Dana White on Friday told ESPN he's encouraged that female mixed martial artist Cris "Cyborg" Justino, who faces a one-year suspension, will be granted a retroactive therapeutic-use exemption for using a banned substance.

The future has been uncertain for Justino (17-1) after she tested positive for spironolactone, a banned substance, in December. However, Justino has claimed innocence under the UFC's antidoping program, stating a doctor had prescribed the medication, and she has applied for the exemption.

"It's actually looking really good now," White said. "Apparently, the three [medical conditions] she has is what this medicine is used for. It's looking really good. It was looking bad for a minute, but now it's looking better. We're in a good place."

Justino's attorney Howard Jacobs, who has represented the UFC's Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar in failed drug tests, confirmed the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has requested additional information regarding Justino's case, which, Jacobs said, suggests the exemption is being considered.

"Just yesterday we submitted further details in response to the questions that were posed to us, and Cris appreciates they are giving her case a thorough review," Jacobs said. "We're hoping to have a resolution soon.

"We're encouraged by the questions they've asked. If these requests are not granted, you typically get a generic denial. This response was very focused on specific things they were asking for. So, it's encouraging."

Any positive news for Justino would be a lift for the UFC, as it would clear her path for an obvious 145-pound title fight against the winner of Saturday's first-ever female featherweight championship bout between Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie at UFC 208 in New York.

Both Holm (10-2) and de Randamie (6-3) have expressed interest in eventually returning to the 135-pound weight class, but White said he's confident the winner will defend the title against Justino, who has won 15 consecutive fights via knockout.

"We'll have to see, but why would you not want to face Cris Cyborg?" White said. "Especially if you're Holly, you've already held that title. You had 18 titles in boxing. If she could go in and beat Cris Cyborg, you know?"