Germaine de Randamie was crowned the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champion at UFC 208 on Feb. 11 when she defeated former bantamweight Holly Holm by unanimous decision. She captured the title, but it wasn’t without controversy.
The Dutch kickboxer delivered a right hand that left Holm dazed and staggered after the bell sounded signifying the end of the second frame. She threw a combination after the bell in the third round. Holm filed an appeal with the New York State Athletic Commission about the strikes landed after the bell and referee Todd Anderson’s decision to not deduct a point for the infractions.
Longtime women’s featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino sat in attendance at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. for the 145-pound title fight. Days later, Cyborg was cleared by USADA for an anti-doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition test administered in December. After a two-month investigation, it was determined that the positive drug test was a result of prescribed medication by her physician to treat documented medical issue.
UFC president Dana White admitted that the women’s featherweight division was created for Cyborg. She’s the Invicta FC featherweight titleholder and former Strikeforce women’s 145-pound champion. She’s been considered the top 145-pound female fighter in the world for nearly a decade. Her only MMA loss came in her professional debut in 2005. A UFC title fight against de Randamie seemed set in stone after Justino was cleared to fight by USADA, but de Randamie would rather give Holm a rematch.
“I completely understand that people want to see that fight (against Cyborg), and that fight is probably going to happen. But I’m first going to fight Holly to clear everything up, to clear everything that has been said so far. I think she deserves the rematch first,” de Randamie told The MMA Hour.
“Until a few weeks ago, it was still unclear whether Cyborg was able to fight anytime soon with the USADA thing going on,” she added. “If the fight’s going to happen, it’s going to happen anyway. Right now, I truly believe that Holly deserves it first so that we can settle things up.”
By settling things, de Randamie was talking about silencing the critics that thought she lost and the controversy surrounding the punches after the bell.
“Holly believes that I didn’t beat her. All the things about hitting after the bell, I want to get it out of the way because it was such a historical fight. I just want to get that out of the way.”