She was just the second-ever Dutch Ultimate Fighting Championship titlist and the inaugural UFC women's featherweight champion. Now, Germaine de Randamie's waist is bare.
On Monday, the UFC announced that de Randamie had been stripped of her 145-pound title, which she won back at UFC 208 in February, defeating Holly Holm for the vacant crown via five-round unanimous decision. With “The Iron Lady” removed from the throne, the UFC has announced that UFC 214 on July 29, will feature a bout for the vacant crown between “Cyborg” Cristiane Justino and Invicta Fighting Championships beltholder Megan Anderson.
UFC 214, which airs live on pay-per-view, takes place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, and is headlined by the anticipated light heavyweight title rematch between Daniel Cormier and former champ Jon Jones.
"[The] 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,” the UFC said in a statement released Monday. "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.”
Following her February title win, it was expected de Randamie would make her first title defense against Justino in the coming months. Instead, de Randamie was publicly absent from MMA headlines and negotiations, stating she was preoccupied with her duties as a police officer in her native Netherlands. With the Dutch fighter seemingly uninterested in a showdown with Cyborg, the Brazilian took to using social media to push for a fight with the upstart Anderson.
In the last week of May, the situation intensified, as de Randamie outright refused to fight Justino, stating through her management that she felt Justino was both a past and present steroid user and that she shouldn't be allowed to fight in the UFC at all.
“Germaine and her team have talked, and the position is that she will not fight Cyborg because Cyborg is a known and proven cheater,” said de Randamie's manager Brian Butler at the time. “Even after so much scrutiny has been put on Cyborg, she still managed to pop for something and will always be a person of suspicion who is trying to beat the system rather than just conforming to the rules.”
The 31-year-old Justino has won 17 bouts in a row since losing her pro MMA debut back over 12 years ago. A former Invicta featherweight champion herself, Cyborg finally transitioned to the UFC in May 2016, where she has collected stoppage wins over Leslie Smith and Lina Lansberg in 140-pound catch-weight bouts. The Anderson affair will be her first proper featherweight contest in the Octagon.
Anderson, 27, has emerged as the best featherweight prospect in women's MMA over the last two years. The Australian striker has won four in a row via knockout, including head kick of Charmaine Tweet at Invicta FC 21 in January to take the title that Justino had vacated. Anderson was scheduled to defend her title at Invicta FC 24 against undefeated Ukrainian Helena Kolesnyk on July 15 until the Cyborg fight was finally booked.