The UFC have stripped Germaine de Randamie of the women’s featherweight title and announced that Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino will face Invicta FC titlist Megan Anderson to crown a new champion at UFC 214 on July 29th.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) June 19, 2017
De Randamie became the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champion back in February, controversially topping former bantamweight queen Holly Holm via five-round decision. Ever since she got her hands on the strap, however, De Randamie has shown a reluctance to face Justino, initially citing an injury as her reason for side-stepping the Brazilian.
Then, last month, De Randamie’s manager stated that his fighter was not interested in fighting “a proven cheater”, before the Dutch star herself claimed in a Facebook post that she intended to go back down to 135lbs.
In light of all of this, the UFC were left with very little choice but to strip the Dutch striker of the title.
“UFC has informed Germaine de Randamie and her management team that she is being removed as the women’s featherweight champion due to her unwillingness to fight the No. 1 ranked contender, Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino,” read an official statement published to the UFC website today.
“UFC maintains that any champion is expected to accept fights against the top contenders in their respective weight classes in order to maintain the integrity of the sport.”
De Randamie, however, was shocked by the turn of events.
“I had absolutely no idea that I was being stripped of the belt,” De Randamie told MMAFighting today. “I found out through social media. Cyborg (Justino) is going to fight Megan (Anderson) for the belt.
“Nobody ever told me anything about it.”
‘Cyborg'(17-1), who has long been considered the best female featherweight in the world, has not fought since September of last year, when she destroyed Lina Lansberg in Brasilia. Justino subsequently failed a USADA drug test in December but was cleared to return to competition after being granted a retroactive therapeutic-use exemption for the banned substance Spironolactone in February. She has been waiting for a title shot ever since.
After she gave up on the idea of an immediate fight with De Randamie though, ‘Cyborg’ began campaigning the UFC to make a fight between her and Australia’s Anderson, who was more than willing to face the feared 31-year-old veteran. That campaign has obviously been a success.
Anderson, 27, is 8-2 as a professional and she has won four straight fights, all by KO/TKO, since a submission loss to Cindy Dandois in 2015. In her most recent fight, Anderson stopped Charmaine Tweet to win the interim Invicta FC featherweight title, but she was later promoted to champion after Justino vacated the title.
UFC 214, which takes place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, is headlined by a hotly-anticipated UFC light-heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier(c) and Jon Jones.