Germaine de Randamie refuses to fight Cris Cyborg to defend UFC featherweight title
Germaine de Randamie has been UFC women's featherweight champion since February but there's been no word on when she might actually defend the title.
The top contender in the division is Cris "Cyborg" Justino, who has been recognized as the top 145-pound women's fighter on the planet for several years, but it appears de Randamie has no desire to face her.
According to a statement from de Randamie's manager, Brian Butler of Suckerpunch Entertainment, sent to FOX Sports on Friday following an initial report from MMAFighting, the current women's champion has refused to fight Cyborg and won't be changing her stance any time soon.
"Germaine and her team have talked, and the position is that she will not fight Cyborg because Cyborg is a known and proven cheater," Butler said in the statement. "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.
"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."
Cyborg was granted a retroactive therapeutic use exemption by USADA after testing positive for a banned substance this past December and she faced no punishment as a result. Prior to that, Cyborg did test positive for stanozolol — an anabolic steroid — following her fight against Hiroko Yamanaka in 2011 and she was suspended one year as a penalty.
Just recently, UFC president Dana White shrugged when asked for an update on the women's featherweight division after almost no movement to advance the weight class after de Randamie defeated Holly Holm to win the belt back in February.
This statement from de Randamie's camp could be the source of White's discontent about the women's featherweight division moving forward any time soon. Since the women's featherweight class was introduced, the UFC has signed no fighters to compete in the division.
Of course it didn't take long for Cyborg to hear the news before firing off a series of messages aimed at de Randamie on Twitter as she erupted about the current UFC champion refusing to face her in the Octagon.
"Who's [Germaine de Randamie]? She was No. 1 at bantamweight and only did 200,000 pay-per-view [buys], barely beating the 0-3 Holly Holm. [Megan Anderson] is twice as popular. No one thinks the UFC 145-pound belt is a world championship. [Germaine de Randamie], you can't beat someone with two straight losses to be champ," Cyborg wrote.
"We waited five months to find out it wasn't [Germaine de Randamie] hand that was hurt but her mental toughness and lack of confidence. The fact [Germaine de Randamie] knows she can't wrestle and I won't let her hit me after the bell is the real reason she won't fight. The toughest opponent [Germaine de Randamie] will ever fight is her mind. Unfortunately, that's a battle she will have to overcome before being world champ."
The UFC has made no official statement regarding de Randamie's title reign or if declining a fight with Cyborg could cost her the championship. As of now, the UFC is still trying to put together a fight for Cyborg on the UFC 214 card on July 29 in Anaheim but clearly she won't be fighting de Randamie at that time.