"I'd rather be the people's champion than the UFC champion. Win the crowd, win your freedom, right?"
– Germaine de Randamie
— MMAjunkie (@MMAjunkie) November 9, 2018
“[My UFC belt is] at home. I still fought the fight [for the inaugural UFC featherweight title against Holly Holm] no matter what people want to say. I still fought the fight. And I’m still a part of the fight. But honestly, I don’t care about any belts. I’m [a] 10-time world champion [in] kickboxing, I’m a European champion multiple times, I’m a Dutch champion multiple times… I have enough belts.
It’s a cool belt, it’s a cool belt to have, I’m not gonna lie. It’s beautiful. But do I care about the belt? No. I would rather be the people’s champion…than the UFC champion. So, win the crowd, win your freedom, right? So…nah.
I got it, it’s not stuck in the closet, I’m proud of it because I still fought the fight, I still won that fight…so no matter what, I still got it.”
The UFC featherweight division had it’s very first bout on February 11, 2017, at UFC 208 in Brooklyn, New York. Walking away victorious as the first champion of the division on that night would be ‘The Iron Lady’ Germaine de Randamie.
The Dutchwoman hasn’t competed in the Octagon since then. But that all changes come tomorrow night when she returns to action at her optimal weight class of 135-pounds and takes on recent title challenger Raquel Pennington at UFC Denver.
Unfortunately for de Randamie, her history-making performance and what quickly followed it is surrounded with controversy which has left her in a negative light to many of the fans.
In her title-winning effort over Holm, GDR would land two illegal punches at the ends of two separate rounds that went unpunished by the referee. She would win the fight via unanimous decision.
Upon the conclusion of the event, it was inevitable that the winner would next be facing Cris Cyborg who was and still is the consensus best featherweight on the planet and of all time. de Randamie however, was not willing to do so due to Cyborg’s past history of performance-enhancing drug use.
Because she refused to face the challenger, de Randamie was stripped.
In the meantime, she’s undergone hand surgery and continued working as a police officer. But don’t get it twisted, inside the cage, she is still one of the very best female strikers in the world and will look to showcase that against Pennington.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/9/2018