UFC officials today announced Germaine de Randamie(7-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC) has been stripped of the UFC women’s featherweight belt. Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Anderson (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will face off for the vacant title at the July 29 event at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. (via Twitter):
The title fight co-headlines the pay-per-view card, which follows prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, though the fight card hasn’t been finalized.
It’s been a long and complicated road for 31-year-old Justino to compete in a UFC title fight. The longtime featherweight queen under the Invicta FC and Strikeforce banners was initially forced down to 140 pounds upon joining the UFC roster, where she earned dominant TKO wins over Leslie Smith and Lina Lansberg.
The UFC finally decided it would open a women’s 145-pound weight class earlier this year, but the Brazilian said she was unable to compete within the desired time frame for the inaugural title bout, which resulted in UFC officials booking de Randamie vs. Holly Holm at UFC 208 in February.
Shortly thereafter it was announced Justino had been issued a potential U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) violation, but after being granted a retroactive therapeutic use exemption, she was cleared of any wrongdoing and reinstated for competition.
The push for a title showdown with de Randamie began, but the Dutch champion stayed off the radar in the months following UFC 208. “The Iron Lady” recently broke her silence and stated she will not fight Justino under any circumstance, even if it meant being stripped of the belt. Additionally, de Randamie said her focus was on moving back to the bantamweight division.
That opened the door for Anderson, 29, to begin campaigning for a fight with Justino. The career-long featherweight is one of few to show enthusiasm toward challenging the dominant Justino, but it seemed her opportunity was lost after it was announced Anderson would defend her Invicta FC title against Helena Kolesnyk at Invicta FC 24 in July.
That fight will no longer take place, with Anderson making the jump to the UFC and immediately competing in a title fight.
With the addition, the UFC 214 card now includes:
- Champ Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones – for light heavyweight title
- Megan Anderson vs. Cristiane Justino – for vacant women’s featherweight title
- Andre Fili vs. TBA
- Renan Barao vs. Aljamain Sterling
- Alexandra Albu vs. Kailin Curran
- Josh Burkman vs. Drew Dober
- Dmitrii Smoliakov vs. Adam Wieczorkowski
- Jarred Brooks vs. Eric Shelton
- Jimi Manuwa vs. Volkan Oezdemir
- Sage Northcutt vs. Claudio Puelles
- Jason Knight vs. Ricardo Lamas
- Renato Moicano vs. Brian Ortega
- Sara McMann vs. Ketlen Vieira