Well, it's official - Germaine de Randamie is no longer the UFC women's featherweight champion.
The UFC announced its decision to strip de Randamie of the title on Monday after 'The Iron Lady' refused to fight 'known and proven cheater', Cris Cyborg. As was reported on Friday, Cyborg will face UFC newcomer Megan Anderson for the 145-pound title in a co-headlining bout at UFC 214.
"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 earlier today. "Subsequently, top contender Justino will face newly signed Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson for the UFC women’s featherweight title in the co-main event of UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2, July 29 in Anaheim, Calif.
"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, 33, moved up from bantamweight to beat Holly Holm for the inaugural featherweight belt in a controversial decision at UFC 208. The former kickboxer was not happy about being pitted against Cyborg and announced last month that she was thinking of returning to the bantamweight division.
"During the negotiations on the battle with Holly Holm, I said in advance that after this fight I want to return to my natural weight class of 61 kilos. My task has not been completed yet," de Randamie said in a public statement.
Despite her plans to return to 135 lbs., de Randamie was shocked by the UFC's decision to strip her of the featherweight title.
"I had absolutely no idea that I was being stripped of the belt," de Randamie told Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting moments after the news broke. "I found out through social media. Cyborg (Justino) is going to fight Megan (Anderson) for the belt.
"Nobody ever told me anything about it."
Although the news came as a shock, de Randamie remains level headed and promises to return to bantamweight.
"I'm definitely coming back. I will go back to 135 pounds," she said.
UFC 214, which now features a co-headlining women's featherweight championship bout between Cyborg and Anderson, takes place later this month, July 29 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The pay-per-view is headlined by a light heavyweight championship rematch between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones.