Cyborg Santos requests release from UFC

News broke Friday evening, in the form of manager and former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz on AXS.TV with hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten, that Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Santos has requested her release from the UFC.

Santos has long been considered to be the female superfight contender for UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. But Santos’s camp obviously has concerns that their fighter — the former 145-pound Strikeforce champion — cannot safely make the cut to 135 pounds.

Worth noting: Santos, 27, is coming off a one-year suspension after testing positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid, at her Dec. 17, 2011, fight against Hiroko Yamanaka. Rousey, 26, fought at 145 pounds as recently as Nov. 17, 2011. And when Rousey became the first American to win an Olympic medal in judo — a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games — it was in the 70kg division. That’s 154 pounds.

The next possible destination for Santos, should the UFC grant her request and let her go, is to fight in Invicta. But nothing will come close to the big-money megafight she could have with Rousey.

As for the UFC champ, she defends her belt in two weeks — Feb. 23 — agaainst Liz Carmouche as the main event at UFC 157 at Honda Center in Anaheim. Should Rousey win, the next step could be a rematch vs. former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate, whom Rousey defeated for the bantamweight title last March with a grotesque armbar.

No word from Rousey yet on Santos’ request, but Cyborg (@criscyborg) was active on Twitter.

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