Freelance: Will the UFC Keep the Women’s Featherweight Division?

UFC women’s featherweight (145-pound) champion, “The Iron Lady” Germaine may have very well just killed her own division. The Dutch fighter won the title in controversial fashion against former UFC women’s bantamweight (135-pound) champion Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter Holm at UFC 208 after landing punches following the end of multiple rounds.

The fight itself was already drawing the ire of fans and media alike when knockout artist Cris “Cyborg” Justino (who the division was meant to be built around) was provisionally suspended by the UFC-partnered U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for testing positive for a diuretic prior to UFC 208 and replaced by de Randamie. Justino was granted a rare retroactive thereputic use exemption (TUE) and was not “fully” suspended.

She had previously been suspended in 2011 while under the now-defunct Strikeforce after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs but served her punishment long ago.

Following the Holm-de Randamie fight, a fight with Justino seemed to be right around the corner but she revealed in her post-fight fight interview with UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan that she had been dealing with a hand injury for some time and wanted to have the operation before she made her next move.

Neither she or Justino have fought since and the UFC has not signed any other fighters to build the division, instead focusing on crowning an inaugural women’s flyweight (125-pound) champion through the 26th season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show which will air later this year. De Randamie went dark for some time regarding the situation before recently taking to social media to say that things were “unclear” regarding her injury and that she intended to return to 135 pounds, which she says the UFC knew during the Holm fight negotiations.

She will meet with a doctor on June 14 to determine if she does in fact need the operation. She said, “The fight between me and Chris Cyborg (sic) was offered to me last November. Even then, I had all my reservations but I accepted the fight. Chris Cyborg has rejected the fight because she could not get the weight of 66 kilos in twelve weeks’ time. One month later, she was visited by the USADA and did not pass the test. The rest of the story is known…”

Her management then also told

“Germaine and her team have talked, and the position is that she will not fight Cyborg because Cyborg is a known and proven cheater. 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.”

The UFC has yet to address the situation concern a fight between Justino and de Randamie or the future of its women’s featherweight division at this time.