When Germaine de Randamie won the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight title by defeating Holly Holm back in February, the expectation was that she would then defend that title against the division’s consensus best fighter, Cris “Cyborg” Justino.
Instead, however, De Randamie refused to fight Cyborg on the basis of her previous failed drug test, which is now years in the past. As a result of this refusal, De Randamie was stripped of the featherweight title. Cyborg will now battle Invicta champion Megan Anderson for the vacant title in the co-main event of UFC 214 this July 29.
Speaking to BJPENN.com, Anderson explained that she understands De Randamie’s reluctance to fight Cyborg, but that there’s probably more to this reluctance than Cyborg’s distant failed drug test.
“I understand where she’s coming from, refusing to fight Cris because she’s a known performance enhancing drug user and stuff like that,” Anderson said. “But the rule isn’t if you [test positive] you’re banned for life. That’s not the rule. So you can’t choose to not fight the number one contender, regardless of whether they’ve [tested positive] six years ago. You don’t get to choose not to the fight the number-one-contender if that’s not in the rules.”
“I honestly think [de Randamie] is undersized at ’45, and she knew that,” Anderson elaborated. “She didn’t want to come up against someone at ’45 who’s going to have a size advantage against her.”
De Randamie, of course, only refused to fight Cyborg. If Anderson defeats Cyborg, it’s possible that de Randamie calls for another shot at the title. The irony of this possibility is not lost on Anderson.
“The irony if that happens…” she said. “I’ve got to this point without doing any [performance enhancers] and I think that’s a testament to my skills and my determination and my hard work. I didn’t need to use anything to get to this point in my career. I don’t see the use going forward. I’ve always prided myself on being a clean athlete. And if that fight [with de Randamie] happened, if Germaine decided, ‘ok I want to fight [Anderson] now,’ I’d be happy to fight her. It doesn’t bother me. I’ll fight anyone.”
What do you think of Germaine de Randamie’s refusal to fight Cyborg? Do you think Megan Anderson will swipe featherweight gold at UFC 214?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/20/2017.