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Germaine de Randamie ready to beat Julianna Pena or Raquel Pennington again to become UFC champion

UFC Fight Night De Randamie v Pena Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

It’s been nearly three years since Germaine de Randamie last fought, but she expects that hiatus to end before the close of 2023.

Starting a family took priority over fighting for the ex-UFC featherweight champion, who gave birth to her son back in March. That fulfilled a lifelong dream for de Randamie, but it also gave her a new purpose when it comes to her MMA career.

“I am complete. I’m absolutely complete now,” de Randamie told MMA Fighting. “It was my dream since I was a little girl. I never dreamed of becoming a world champion or whatever, but to become a mom, and it finally happened. For me now, I’m the happiest person alive. I’m blessed. Everyday’s a joy.

“I don’t have to fight. I fight because I really want to fight. I really love fighting. I think for me the main reason now is I want to make my son proud, so one day when he’s old enough, we can talk about it. Nothing in life, don’t take it for granted. You’ve got to work hard for it. So I want to make him proud and make him see that anything possible.”

While she wasn’t necessarily paying attention to everything in the UFC during her absence, de Randamie caught up in recent months, especially as she plotted her comeback.

With Amanda Nunes retired, the promotion currently sits without a bantamweight champion, and there is still no word when that title will go up for grabs again.

Considering de Randamie holds wins over both ex-UFC champion Julianna Pena and Raquel Pennington — the two fighters most frequently mentioned as potential title contenders — the 39-year-old Dutch striker feels great about her timing to fight again.

“I know I’m not in the position to ask for any of that,” de Randamie said of the title. “But if the UFC calls and say, ‘Hey Germaine, you want to fight for the title against Raquel or Julianna?’ You can send me the bout agreements right away because I’ll put my autograph on it. Let’s go.

“I know that’s not going to happen, let’s be real. But I’m also the only fighter left in the UFC that beat them both, so yeah, I feel like I can beat them both now. I say that with the utmost respect to the both of them, but I believe I can beat them both. The title is what I’m going for.”

As recently as this past Tuesday night, UFC president Dana White declined to commit to any plans to crown a new bantamweight champion just yet.

Whenever a vacant title fight is announced, de Randamie doesn’t expect she’ll be involved, however an impressive win in her return could change things rather quickly. That’s why she’s focused on returning sooner rather than later. She’s already started a training camp, with hopes to book a fight by December.

Of course, de Randamie rarely asks for any specific fight, although she at least has a suggestion in mind if the UFC is listening.

“In an ideal world, [I would fight] Julianna Pena or Raquel Pennington,” de Randamie said. “But like I said, I’m not in the position to ask for anybody and I’m never the person to do that. But if I would have to say somebody — and I say that with the utmost respect because I’m a true, true, true fan of her — but I would say a fight with Pannie Kianzad.

“If the UFC really wants a banger, because she and I are both not going to shoot for a takedown. We’re going to bang it out in the middle of the cage. That would be a fun fight. Like I said, whatever the UFC wants to give me and whatever gives me a shot at the title.”

Assuming she’s victorious in her first fight back, de Randamie would then shift her full attention to the title in 2024.

Whether that means a fight against Pena, Pennington, or someone else, de Randamie welcomes all challenges and hopes her schedule will be packed in the immediate future.

“Let’s make it happen,” de Randamie said. “That’s what I’m shooting for. I’m going to give it my all in my comeback fight. I know I have to deliver. That’s my focus. I’ve got to deliver and make sure everybody knows I’m still there and I’m coming for [the title].”

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