The move was a bit shocking because Invicta FC featherweight champion and UFC fighter Cris “Cyborg” Justino was not in the first women’s featherweight bout. UFC president Dana White revealed the Justino was offered the title fight multiple times, but turned it down.
“I offered Cris Cyborg a title fight at 145 pounds a month ago,” said White when the Holm and de Randamie fight was announced. “She had eight weeks to get ready for it; she said she couldn’t make the weight. She couldn’t make 145 pounds. So then I offered her another 145-pound title fight for Brooklyn and she turned it down.
“She has turned down two 145-pound title fights.”
Justino said she didn’t turn down fights and only asked for the date to be pushed back until March. Nine days after the announcement of the Holm and de Randamie fight, Cyborg was flagged for a potential anti-doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on December 5.
When the women’s 145-pound division was created, it was with Cyborg in mind.
“We did it for (Cyborg) and now she’s in this position with USADA. I don’t know how this is going to play out, so we’ve got to see what happens here. Hopefully this will all get smoked out soon and I can figure out what to do with the 145 (division),” White said during an appearance on the UFC Unfiltered podcast.
In the wake of Justino’s anti-doping violation, Invicta FC created an interim featherweight title and the UFC is moving forward with the division.
“We’ve got two of the most decorated strikers ever in the UFC fighting for the title (Holm and de Randamie),” said White. “It should be a fun fight. We’ll see how that thing ends and then we’ll go from there.”