Freelance: Cris “Cyborg” Booked for UFC Title Fight
The world leader in MMA in the UFC has confirmed that women’s featherweight (145-pound) contender Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (17-1, 1 No Contest, 2-0 in the UFC,) considered by many to be the best fighter at that weight of all time, has been booked to fight for the division’s title at the upcoming UFC 214 pay-per-view event. She will not be facing the now former champion, “The Iron Lady” Germaine de Randamie.
De Randamie initially won the championship at UFC 208 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York in a move up from bantamweight (135 pounds) with former women’s bantamweight champion Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm. However, after winning the title said that she needed to take time off to deal with a long-time hand injury to determine whether or not the injury required surgery.
Regarding the Brazilian striker specifically, de Randamie’s management said:
“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.”
Justino failed a 2011 drug test for performance-enhancing drugs (PED) but has since expressed immense regret and passed every test since that time. She was provisionally suspended in late 2016 due to a diuretic known as spironolactone, which is banned in and out of competition. Due to a medical paperwork snafu, the provisional suspension was lifted, Justino no longer faced a one-year ban, and she was granted a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE.)
De Randamie has shared her own thoughts on the stripping with MMAFighting.com.
The move to give Justino a title fight may also be viewed as controversial by some after she was cited for misdemeanor battery after punching fellow UFC fighter Angela “Your Majesty” Magana (11-8 in MMA overall, 0-2 in the UFC.) The incident resulted in a lot of social media support for Justino from fans after Magana taunted her on Twitter, using a photo of Justino visiting children hospitalized with cancer in her native country to do so.
The strawweight (115-pound) fighter did later challenge Justino to a grappling match due to their weight difference, which has not yet come to fruition. She revealed to TMZ in late May that she will be suing Justino.
Stepping in as challenger against Justino will be Australia’s Megan Anderson (8-2 in MMA overall with six finishes,) the now former featherweight champion for the all-female Invicta FC, which is mostly considered a feeder league to the UFC. She initially won an interim title in January, scoring a TKO win over Charmaine Tweet at Invicta FC 21.
Anderson was promoted to being a full-fledged champion after Justino vacated the promotion’s featherweight strap to focus on the UFC. The Aussie had been eying a UFC debut but wasn’t sure why she had yet to be signed (along with any other fighters to fill out the new division.) There were rumors that the division might be scrapped, but the UFC has put an end to that.
Anderson had previously been announced as the main event for July’s Invicta FC 24 opposite the debuting Helena Kolesnyk (5-0 in MMA overall with all five wins being finishes.) She has replaced by bantamweight champion Tanya Evinger (19-5-0, 1 No Contest in MMA overall, 7-0-0, 1 No Contest in Invicta FC) although the bout will still take place at 145 pounds.
“We'd obviously been campaigning for that fight, probably for three weeks, but the UFC had told us it wasn't happening," Anderson told ESPN this morning (June 19.) So, we went to Invicta and said, 'Get us an opponent.' We signed that bout agreement, and not more than six hours later, the UFC called and said, 'Hey, let's look at that Justino matchup.
I don't know what was going on in their head. They knew we wanted the fight this whole time. We finally said, 'OK, fine' and we sign another fight. Then all of a sudden they're like, 'Oh wait, we're back.' At least it all seems to have worked out.”
The Cyborg-Anderson title bout will serve as the UFC 214 co-main event. Headlining the card, which will take place at the Honda Center on July 29, is the rematch between light heavyweight (205-pound) Daniel “DC” Cormier and former champion Jon “Bones” Jones. Yoel Romero faces Robert Whittaker for an interim middleweight (185-pound) title as well.