Cris Cyborg was stunned by Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 in Los Angeles in December, suffering only her second mixed martial arts defeat, and her first by knockout. Nunes went on to become the women's featherweight and bantamweight champion, the first female UFC fighter to hold the belts simultaneously in two divisions.
Following a rankings update, however, the featherweight division, of which Cyborg had been the only champion until her loss to Nunes, was no longer listed on the UFC's website. A lack of fighters in that weight class, compounded by the prospect of potentially facing Cyborg, may have contributed to a dearth of featherweight fighters.
The women's featherweight division debuted in February 2017 at UFC 208 when Germaine de Randamie defeated Holly Holm by decision. That July, Cyborg stepped into the Octagon and stopped Tonya Evinger to grab the featherweight title.
"I saw that they took my category off the site," Cyborg told ESPN Brazil in a phone interview. "I do not know how much that will change anything. If you do not [have] my category, you are indirectly cutting me. So I think a lot of things are going to happen."
She revealed that she learned about the possible elimination of the UFC featherweight rankings through a fan forum site.
"Those who follow my career know about the struggle to get my UFC weight category," said the Brazil-born Cyborg, a naturalized American. Her UFC contract ends next month, and her manager is currently in negotiations to renew, she said.
Cyborg, 33, insists that regardless of what happens, she intends to continue fighting.
"I want to fight for five more years," she said. "I like to fight, it's my job, I do not have any injuries or anything that is preventing me from fighting.
"This [elimination of the UFC's female featherweight rankings] may try to erase my category, but it does not erase who I am. People are with me wherever I go. Wherever I'm fighting, my star will shine like it has throughout my career."