LA MIRADA, Calif. -- Cris Cyborg and Tonya Evinger aren’t likely to agree on much over the next few days. Cyborg, the former Strikeforce and Invicta featherweight champ, and Evinger, the former Invicta bantamweight champ, will square off for the vacant UFC featherweight title on Saturday night at UFC 214.
But the duo seem to agree on one thing leading up to their matchup at Anaheim’s Honda Center: They don’t think Germaine de Randamie was cut out to be champion.
De Randamie became the first 145-pound women’s titleholder in January in a decision win over Holly Holm, but was stripped of the title for refusing to fight Cyborg.
As far as Cyborg is concerned, it’s nothing personal, but she doesn’t think de Randamie wanted to fight her.
“I have nothing against her, just that I don’t think she’s the champion,” Cyborg said at Thursday’s UFC 214 media day. “She never fight at 145, she go fight for the belt, and she knew if she was going to fight for the belt, she was supposed to fight me, and she said, ‘No, I hurt my hand, I don’t want to fight her.’ I don’t know, when you hold the belt you fight whoever for the belt.”
Evinger, meanwhile, had a bit of a harsher tone toward de Randamie. She’s spent her entire career beating quality opponents and never got a sniff at UFC competition until now, when she got this opportunity after original Cyborg opponent Megan Anderson had to drop out.
So someone who had to wait years for an opportunity wasn’t about to let a champion who didn’t seem too keen on defending their belt slide.
“I think when you have the belt, you’re supposed to fight the best there is,” Evinger said. “That’s what being a world champion is, you fight everyone they put in front of you. You never say no to anybody, and I think in Germaine’s case, I think that she just, she knew she wasn’t really the champion, you know what I mean? I think she knew she wasn’t going to win that fight, or she didn’t have the confidence she was going to win that fight or whatever, so I think she pulled out for that reason.”
De Randamie had cited Cyborg’s previous PED issues for not wanting to take the fight, but Evinger said it was no issue with her.
“At the end of the day, whether she cheated in the past or not, whatever everybody wants to say is the reason, I personally don’t care,” Evinger said. “She’s making the weight and she passed the drug test, so she’s in the weight class and the UFC has her on the roster, so either you fight her or you don’t.”