Germaine de Randamie’s run as UFC featherweight champion has come to an unceremonious end.
The news was reported by some outlets, including MMAFighting.com first, for weeks, though de Randamie said she was caught off guard.
“I had absolutely no idea that I was being stripped of the belt,” de Randamie told MMAFighting.com 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.”
UFC confirmed Monday that Justino, the former Strikeforce featherweight champion, will meet Invicta’s featherweight queen Megan Anderson for the now-vacated 145-pound belt at UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, Calif.
“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 promotion 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.”
De Randamie, via her manager Brian Butler, said recently that she refused to fight Cyborg because of her history linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
“Germaine and her team have talked, and the position is that she will not fight Cyborg because Cyborg is a known and proven cheater,” de Randamie’s manager Brian Butler told MMA Fighting. “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.
“For that reason, Germaine and her team don’t believe that Cyborg should be allowed to compete in the UFC at all. If that is the only fight the UFC wants, then Germaine is willing to wait and see if the UFC will strip her belt before making her next move.”
UFC cited de Randamie’s refusal to fight Cyborg as the catalyst behind their decision to strip her.
Despite the bitter end to her first run as UFC champion, de Randamie, 33, assured this would not mark the end of her career.
“I’m definitely coming back. I will go back to 135 pounds.”