On Tuesday, the UFC made the shocking announcement that Holly Holm will fight Germaine de Randamie for the inaugural UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship at UFC 208 in Brooklyn, NY.
While many speculated the 145 pound division was on the horizon, just about everyone expected Cyborg Justino to be fighting for the title.
UFC President Dana White appeared on the UFC Unfiltered podcast and hinted that he offered Cyborg 145 pound title fights for UFC 208 against both Holm and Randamie, but both fights were turned down by Justino.
Cyborg countered, insisting she turned down the fights because she couldn’t make 145 pounds by UFC 208 in February.
So now we have Holm vs Randamie at UFC 208 followed by a lot of interesting side stories.
The fight itself is intriguing as it faces off a championship boxer in Holm against a decorated kickboxer in Germaine but the far more interesting plot line comes if Holm wins.
Holm obviously has the iconic upset victory against Ronda Rousey, who is returning to the sport on December 30th against Amanda Nunes for the UFC Bantamweight championship.
If Rousey is able to come back and win the title, and Holm wins the Featherweight title in February, a lot of people are going to be clamoring for the rematch. Rousey only has a hand-full of fights left in the sport as she says she’s strongly considering retiring next year.
Outside of regaining the title, there are only two big fights that Rousey absolutely needs to define her legacy as the best female fighter of all-time.
The first is the rematch against Holm. Holm embarrassed Rousey last year and many fans believe Holm broke Rousey mentally. If she were able to not only beat Holm, but go up a weight class (one that she’s fought in before,) it would be a massive accomplishment.
She could become the first ever 2-weight champion in Women's MMA.The second fight is against Cyborg.
Rousey vs Cyborg is the biggest fight the UFC could make, it could possibly see a 2 million PPV buyrate which would be record-breaking.
The problem with making this fight has always been Rousey’s insistence on Cyborg meeting her at either 135 or 140. Even if she beat Holm for the Featherweight title, weight would probably still be a big issue.
Cyborg has maintained that the 140 pound weight cut is too strenuous, and she even turned down fights at championship fights 145 due to weight concern, so a catchweight would be very difficult negotiate.
With the 145 pound weight division now open, there are a lot of options on the table so it should be interesting to see how the UFC handles this situation.
If Rousey is able to beat Nunes in two weeks, 2017 should be a very interesting year for the former champion.