Germaine De Randamie May Vacate Women’s Featherweight Title

Ed Mulholland for USA TODAY Sports
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UFC women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie has neither been seen nor heard from ever since she won the inaugural UFC women’s 145-pound title with a close and controversial decision win against Holly Holm in the main event of February’s UFC 208 from Brooklyn, New York.

The obvious direction for “The Iron Lady” was a title bout against former Invicta and Strikeforce champ Cris “Cyborg” Justino, the woman a majority of the MMA universe feels is far and away the best female fighter on the planet and arguably the solitary reason the UFC created a women’s featherweight division, even if she turned down the first title bout in the weight class¬†this year.

But when she was faced with the prospect of meeting Cyborg in the cage after her win over Holm, de Randamie said she would need time off to have hand surgery to repair an injury that had been bothering her for three fights. Justino teased a meeting with de Randamie¬†at July 29’s UFC 214, but there has been no update in the two-and-a-half months since until now, and it appears the news isn’t promising.

Earlier this week, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani tweeted that de Randamie’s future was “up in the air” as she was possibly targeting a fourth quarter return but may even vacate the belt without defending it:

Helwani stated retirement wasn’t an option as of right now, but her fighting future was still very uncertain as questions began to mount about the UFC’s newest champ:

It’s a situation that will almost definitely continue to irk UFC ownership, who created a division with de Randamie, Justino, and Holm to save a pay-per-view (PPV) card, a decision that did not prove to be a great one when UFC 208 was derided as one of the more lackluster pay events in years.

The obvious reaction will be that de Randamie is ducking Cyborg, and based on the ruthlessness and ferocity which she’s been finishing each and every opponent, it’s easy to see why people think that. De Randamie had to know a fight with the most controversial female in MMA was coming though, and to sit on the sidelines for a full year after winning a close call for the belt just isn’t a good look for the titleholder of a division many thought shouldn’t have been installed anyway.

On top of that mess, enough weight classes are already in a state of confusion as it is, so adding yet another uncertain set of circumstances only casts more doubt on possibly the most auspicious start to a UFC calendar year we’ve seen. Can the new owners rise above the mounting avalanche of seemingly endless issues to cash in on their $4 billion investment? If you enjoyed this story, please share it on social media!