After defeating Holly Holm to win the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight title earlier this month, de Randamie was asked in her post-fight interview about the possibility of defending her newly-crowned belt against Cris Cyborg, who was sitting cageside for the event in Brooklyn. Yet instead of directly addressing what’s likely to be her next challenge, de Randamie diverted the conversation to a lingering hand injury that she suffered almost two years ago against Larissa Pacheco, and revealed — to the dismay of many — that she’ll be needing surgery.
The seemingly digressive answer had plenty of people accusing de Randamie of ducking a fight with Cyborg, who is considered to be the best female fighter on the planet. Upon reflection, the Dutch fighter says she doesn’t regret those post-fight comments, but admits she wasn’t clear enough with her message.
“Absolutely not, I don’t regret a thing of that because, you know, the thing is that I said that I needed surgery on my hand, and that’s the inevitable,” de Randamie told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I’ve never said, do I have to have the surgery right now? I’m I going to have permanent damage if I fight again? That’s something I need to evaluate with my doctor.
“I apologize, I truly apologize for not making that clear, but I don’t run away from anybody. I knew Cyborg was there, and Cyborg is still in there. There is no reason for me to run, everybody is beatable, and it would be an honor for me to fight such a great champion in Cris ‘Cyborg.’ I’m not running, but at this point I do believe Holly [Holm] deserves the rematch.”
The 32-year-old de Randamie hasn’t yet seen a doctor to assess the torn ligaments in her hand following the Holm fight, as she’s been busy doing media and working her regular job as a police officer in The Netherlands.
In the meantime Justino has been cleared to fight again by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), who granted her a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for the banned substance she tested positive for, which was a diuretic called Spironolactone. When de Randamie defeated Holm, Justino was still under a provisional suspension.
Yet even though the obstacles are out of the way for a showdown with Cyborg, de Randamie prefers the rematch with Holm, given the controversial nature of the first fight. On two separate occasions — after the second and third rounds — de Randamie blasted Holm late shots, which prompted many to wonder why a point wasn’t deducted by referee Todd Anderson.
Because the fight played out the way it did, de Randamie would prefer to resolve things before moving on.
“I completely understand that people want to see that [Cyborg] fight and that’s probably going to happen, but I first have to fight Holly to clear everything up,” de Randamie explained. “I think she deserves the rematch. I mean, a few weeks ago, it was still unclear if ‘Cyborg’ was going to fight anytime soon with the USADA thing going on, but I hear she’s clear, you know. I mean, if the fight is going to happen, is going to happen anyways but right now, I truly believe that Holly deserves it first so that we can settle things.”