Shortly after winning the inaugural women's featherweight title in a controversial decision against Holly Holm at UFC 208, Germaine de Randamie announced that she was thinking of giving up the belt and returning to the bantamweight division.
One of the reasons, de Randamie claimed, was because she was not willing to fight 'known and proven cheater' Cris Cyborg, who tested positive for steroids in 2011 and flagged for a potential USADA violation earlier this year.
Last month, UFC granted de Randamie her wish and officially stripped 'The Iron Lady' of the featherweight 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," the UFC said in a statement. "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.”
Former UFC women's bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, who retired from the sport last year, can see why de Randamie refused to fight Cyborg, but 'Cupcake' would have no problem stepping in the Octagon to challenge the Brazilian knockout artist.
“I mean, what do you really have to lose when you fight someone like Cyborg, of her stature?” Tate asked Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour (h/t Dave Doyle of MMA Fighting). “If you beat Cyborg, you’re on another level of respect. And if you lose, it’s like, well so has everybody. So, my opinion of it is, as a fighter, just from a fighter standpoint I think it would be an awesome thing to be able to fight Cyborg.”
Even though de Randamie is not willing to fight Cyborg (real name Cristiane Justino), Tate doesn't believe the Dutch-born fighter is 'scared.'
“I do respect and understand what Germaine is saying,” Tate said. “And I don’t think she’s scared of Cyborg. She’s a fighter. She’s been kickboxing forever. She’s one of the baddest women on the planet.
“[De Randamie’s] point she’s trying to make is, she doesn’t believe it’s fair,” Tate later added, “and that, I cannot disagree. I don’t disagree with what she’s saying.”
With de Randamie stripped of the 145-pound belt, Cyborg will take on Invicta FC bantamweight champ Tonya Evinger for the vacant featherweight title at UFC 214, the biggest pay-per-view event of the year.
UFC 214, which also features a headlining light heavyweight championship rematch between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones, takes place later this month, July 29, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.