UFC 214: Complications Arising for De Randamie vs Cyborg

Reports are coming in that featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie will not be fighting Cris Cyborg at UFC 214 in Anaheim.

Last week, the MMA world was excited at the news that a blockbuster doubleheader was planned for UFC 214 that could potentially feature Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones and Germaine de Randamie vs Cris Cyborg.  However, reports are coming in that look to put the latter bout in jeopardy.

However, reports are coming in that look to put the latter bout in jeopardy.

On Thursday, former featherweight title challenger Holly Holm wrote on her Facebook page that she heard rumours that de Randamie was retiring.

The post added more fuel to the idea that de Randamie was avoiding a fight with longtime champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino.

The statement that drew the most criticism was when de Randamie stated that she wanted to take the time to have surgery performed on her hand following the victory over Holm.  The injury had been present for a long time however it drew criticism that she chose to have the procedure before a fight with Cyborg despite having competed with the issue for several fights.

Cris Cyborg has been vocal in stating that she feels de Randamie is afraid to face her.  For her part, the Brazilian has made it clear she’s ready to compete for the UFC title.  She vacated her InvictaFC title and has campaigned to compete on the Anaheim card.

As Friday continued, more snippets began to emerge that led to more speculation that the fight might be in jeopardy.  Through several reports from Ariel Helwani and others, the consensus is that de Randamie is dealing with severe personal issues that at the very least are pushing her return to the end of 2017.

There is no confirmation of retirement in regards to “The Iron Lady.”  However, it is clear that there is an issue that is potentially keeping the champion out indefinitely.  Such news is critical due to the fact that the UFC has held off on signing new talent for the featherweight division until the situation with Cyborg is resolved.  Invicta champion Megan Anderson, an obvious choice to be signed to the UFC, has continually stated that there is no activity with the organization signing new talent until the Cyborg-title situation is sorted out.

Assuming de Randamie does not compete in July, it is possible that she does vacate the title and Cyborg faces another opponent for the belt on the Anaheim card.  De Randamie would likely receive a shot at the title upon her return if she chooses.

In terms of the featherweight division, it is no secret that de Randamie’s best success has been at 135.  Her frame and power translate better to the weight class.  She has an extremely lethal skill set, however there is still the question of whether her power can compete against the larger featherweights like Cyborg, Anderson, and others.  Despite her status as featherweight champion, it’s not unlikely for her to go back to bantamweight.

Cyborg’s opponent for Anaheim is a much better question.  If a decision about de Randamie is made in the next few days, it is possible that Holm is pulled from their event in Singapore for the fight in July.  It would make sense as both are already under UFC contract and would make sense competitively and logistically.  The controversy of the fight had many believing Holm deserved at least a draw due to strikes after the bell, a second chance at the belt would make sense if de Randamie doesn’t compete.

It is possible the promotion signs Anderson, but outside of her contract it would also remove Invicta of another featherweight champion.  It is more likely that the UFC works in house for Anaheim and then signs Anderson and company following UFC 214.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available but for now it appears nearly certain that Germaine de Randamie will not be fighting Cris Cyborg in Anaheim in July.