Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White was not messing around when he revealed that the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion was finally going to introduce a women’s Featherweight division — with or without Cris Cyborg — in the not-so distant future.
Times ... they are a changin!’
Former women’s Bantamweight champion, Holly Holm, will get the first crack at the 145-pound belt, taking on Germaine de Randamie at UFC 208, which will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 11, 2017.
UFC.com made the historic announcement earlier this evening.
It’s definitely bittersweet news for Cyborg, who for years lobbied White and Co. to build a new division around her much like it did for Ronda Rousey back in 2013. She was always denied up until recently after it was revealed that UFC offered her two separate 145-pound title fights against Holm and de Randamie, which she had to turn down because the promotion nearly killed her after making her needlessly cut to 140-pound Catchweight fights.
Cyborg requested that either fight take place sometime in March 2017 or after, but it appears that UFC was unable -- or unwilling — to wait.
Nevertheless, Holm will attempt to make history, while at the same time hope to steer out of a two-fight losing skid (Miesha Tate, Valentina Shevchenko) when she locks horns with de Randamie, who has won two consecutive matches inside the Octagon (Anna Elmose, Larissa Pacheco).
The winner will more than likely tangle with Cyborg — the most dominant and fearsome female Featherweight fighter for the past decade — shortly after UFC 208’s conclusion.
UFC 208 is expected to also feature a Light Heavyweight showdown between Glover Teixeira vs. Jared Cannonier, as well as a Flyweight fight between Wilson Reis vs. Ulka Sasaki. Featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, speculated that he would battle interim 145-pound titleholder, Max Holloway, at the event, too, but “Blessed” wants the Brazilian to get his “brain checked” before he believes it.