The Calamity of UFC’s Women’s Featherweight Division

Photo courtesy of AP
The Calamity of UFC’s Women’s Featherweight Division

The UFC’s 145 Women’s division has had an atrocious roll out.

Dana White devised the division to appease Cris “Cyborg” Justino, the juggernaut of women’s MMA. Cyborg had been very vocal about wanting a division higher than 135, as she had suffered brutal and near life threatening cuts to the upper Bantamweight limit. Fans were split on the idea, as the division would make it much safer for some of the 135 fighters who would move up a division and have to cut far less weight. The opposition ran with the argument that Cyborg would be the only one in the division with a chance of winning the title and that she’d reign supreme for years.

White soon revealed that he had offered Cyborg two fights in the at the time yet-to-be-revealed division, both of which she had turned down. Some stated that White was lying, as it didn’t seem to make sense that Cyborg would refuse to fight in the division she was begging for.

Soon after, Cyborg was flagged by USADA for a doping violation, which Cyborg immediately clarified was for a diuretic she was using to recover from one of her draining weight cuts. This led many to assume and speculate that Cyborg had turned down the fights due to the inability to pass a drug test, with some incorrectly theorizing it wasn’t for recovery and was for some sort of performance enhancing substance.

However, Cyborg was recently granted a therapeutic exception by USADA, and is able to fight immediately. Cyborg’s name is crystal clear and she is definitely in line for champion Germaine De Randamie’s first defense.

There inlay the problem.

De Randaime defeated former Bantamweight champion Holly Holm in very controversial fashion, as GDR twice punched Holm after the end of the round, with the first blow nearly knocking out Holm. The referee did not take a point, and because the fight ended in a unanimous 48-47 decision for GDR from all three judges, Holm lost when she likely should have drawn with the now-champion.

GDR has gotten massive amounts of heat since the incidents, with many labeling De Randamie as a dirty fighter, with the live Brooklyn crowd at UFC 208 booing her heavily during her post fight interview with Joe Rogan.

Pundits have also jumped on the champ for claiming in her interview that she needed hand surgery, with scores of fans and journalists alike speculating that De Randamie is either faking needing surgery, which is unlikely, or that she is going to have the surgery to delay the inevitable fight with Cyborg. She has not scheduled the surgery when many joked/seriously stated that she’d schedule it when Cyborg received her exemption.

If she does wind up having the surgery, many are suggesting that Holm and Cyborg face off for the interim title, which Cyborg doesn’t seem too keen on. Holm herself has appealed the decision by the NYSAC and, if nothing comes of the challenge, she is requesting a rematch with GDR, which Cyborg is rallying against. GDR herself is also in favor of the rematch with Holm before fighting Cyborg.

It’s taken almost 500 words to describe the absolute mess that is the Women’s Featherweight division and you still cannot describe the situation without using a word with “cluster” in it.

The first defense of the title is what will straighten it out in one way or another.

Will Cyborg get her fight that many anticipate will end in her reigning supreme in her requested division? Will Holm get to a rematch, will she face Cyborg for the interim title, or will NYSAC overturn their controversial decision?

Will De Randamie get surgery, or will she defend against the looming Cybernetic threat?

Stay tuned.


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