UFC officials on Monday announced the move, explaining why de Randamie was forced to relinquish the belt.
“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 on its website. “Subsequently, top contender Justino will face newly signed Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson for the UFC women’s featherweight title in the co-main event of UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2, July 29 in Anaheim, Calif.
“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.”
Having held the Strikeforce and Invicta FC titles, the UFC belt is the only one that has thus far eluded Cyborg. In fact, the division was created for her last year, but she was dealing with health issues and then an anti-doping violation charge, which led the UFC to match de Randamie against Holly Holm for the inaugural featherweight title.
Since she won the belt, however, de Randamie has dealt with a hand injury and recently declared that she would not put her belt on the line against Cyborg because she was a “proven cheater.”
Anderson, meanwhile, won the interim Invicta FC featherweight title early this year by defeating Charmaine Tweet. She was promoted to full-blown champion when Cyborg relinquished the Invicta FC championship in March to intensify her pursuit of the UFC title.
Anderson had been scheduled to put her Invicta belt on the line at that promotion’s event on July 15 in Kansas City, Mo. She was removed from that fight and released from her contract in order to sign with the UFC to fight Cyborg for the vacant UFC featherweight title in July.
Invicta has not yet announced how it will fill the newfound vacancy in its 145-pound division.