Cris Justino challenges Holly Holm to December fight


UFC female featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino has targeted former bantamweight champion Holly Holm for a Dec. 30 title defense in Las Vegas.

Justino (18-1), who won the UFC’s 145-pound title last month by knocking out Tonya Evinger, has had her sights set on Holm for years. She told ESPN on Wednesday the Dec. 30 date is appropriate.

“A December date works best,” Justino said. “My team has been trying to make this fight with Holly for over two years and has been unable to get her side to agree.

“You saw in her boxing career that she never gave the fans the fight against [world champion] Cecilia Braekhus, but we hope that by giving her a December date she has enough time to make the proper adjustments to transition back to 145 [pounds] and make this fight happen.”

The UFC has a scheduled pay-per-view event on Dec. 30, UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena. The promotion has not yet announced any fights on the card.

It also has a UFC 216 pay-per-view scheduled on Oct. 7 in Las Vegas, but Justino, who fights out of Southern California, prefers a later date.

“Right now, I want to celebrate my win,” Justino said. “I have a seminar and public appearance tour scheduled and will let my management team deal with the UFC while I’m gone.

“I’m at a point in my career where I need to be a featured fight in Las Vegas, and Holly Holm on the 30th of December is the fight I have asked for.”

Holm (11-3) was in attendance for Justino’s victory over Evinger last month in Anaheim, but she has not said much publicly about a potential fight. UFC president Dana White has expressed interest in a Justino-Holm bout.

Holm’s manager, Lenny Fresquez, told ESPN on Tuesday he expects to discuss the potential fight with the UFC but declined to offer further details. He told ESPN in a previous interview that, from a competitive standpoint, “Holly will fight anyone.”

Holm is coming off a knockout win over Bethe Correia in June. She moved up to 145 pounds to face Germaine de Randamie for the inaugural UFC featherweight title in February, but lost via unanimous decision. Her natural fight weight is 135 pounds.

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