Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino finally has a fight. Not just any old fight, either. She has a UFC title fight, one scheduled for July 29 at UFC 214, against former Invicta FC champ Megan Anderson.
It’s been a long time coming for a woman avoided by many in and around her weight division. Indeed, it was former UFC featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie’s refusal to fight Cyborg which led to her being stripped of her title and the path then being cleared for Cyborg and Anderson to contest the vacant belt, a move announced today by the UFC.
“UFC has informed Germaine de Randamie and her management team that she is being removed as the women’s featherweight champion due to her unwillingness to fight the No. 1 ranked contender, Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino,” the UFC said in a statement. “UFC maintains that any champion is expected to accept fights against the top contenders in their respective weight classes in order to maintain the integrity of the sport.”
De Randamie won the newest UFC championship belt with a controversial victory over Holly Holm at UFC 208 in February. Since then, however, she has shown an unwillingness to defend her belt against Cyborg, the next designated challenger, and that has led to many calling for her to be stripped or the division itself to be scrapped.
Enter Megan Anderson. A former Invicta FC featherweight titleholder, Anderson has yet to make her debut yet is considered good enough to oppose Cyborg, 17-1 (1 NC), the unspoken word of women’s fighting, in her very next fight. The 27-year-old Australian has won her last four bouts, all via stoppage, and was last seen beating Charmaine Tweet in January to lift featherweight gold.
“We’re the best featherweights in the world,” Anderson, 8-2, said. “It’s a great test for [Justino], and it’s a great test for me. There’s a reason I’m in the position that I am in such a short amount of time. She knows I’m a big threat to her.”