She once knocked out a man in a boxing ring and has won more kickboxing and Muay Thai titles than she can count. So when anyone suggests Germaine de Randamie of the Netherlands doesn’t deserve to be in the main event of UFC 208 at Barclays Center on Saturday night, they haven’t done their homework.
De Randamie (6-3) faces Holly Holm (10-2) of Albuquerque for the newly created UFC women’s 145-pound featherweight championship.
Holm is better known in MMA after having knocked out Ronda Rousey in November 2015. But de Randamie will carry plenty of fighting experience into the Octagon after compiling a 46-0 record in Muay Thai, including 30 knockouts. She also once knocked out a man in a battle of the sexes boxing event.
“Not everybody knows my credentials in kick boxing,” de Randamie said. “I fought the best female fighters in the world in three different weight divisions. I fought a man who had 40 pounds on me and I knocked him out. If you talk about credentials, I’m right where I want to be. After Saturday, nobody will forget me.”
De Randamie, 32, has won her last two fights since losing to current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in November 2013 when both were trying to make a mark in the UFC. Nunes took de Randamie to the ground in the first round and employed a persistent ground and pound attack that forced the referee to stop the fight.
It was only her second appearance in the UFC and while her ground game has improved, it’s her striking that’s most feared. It should create a perfect matchup with Holm, a former world-champion boxer.
“We’re both stand-up fighters, but this is MMA,” de Randamie said. “This fight could go to the ground. But we’re prepared for anywhere the fight has to go. Everybody knows I like to bang. Everybody knows I like to finish fights. If we bang, I’m all in for it. Let’s meet in the middle and bang it out. I believe it’s going to be a classic stand-up fight.”
At 5-foot-9 with a 71-inch reach, de Randamie has long arms and long legs. When she backs an opponent against the cage, she can be overpowering with knees and kicks. She’s a much better mixed martial artist than she was when she met Nunes three years ago.
“It wasn’t my best fight,” de Randamie said of her battle with the current 135-pound champion. “I know what I did wrong. She beat me fair and square. I’m far from the fighter I was then. You can’t compare that to the fighter I am now.”
Some might have wanted to see former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo fighting in the main event or Cris “Cyborg” Justino, considered by many the best female fighter at 145 pounds. But a fight featuring Aldo never materialized and Justino is facing a possible drug suspension after testing positive for a banned substance. De Randamie makes no apologies for her shot at a title.
“If you would have asked anybody in the world six months ago, do you see Germaine headlining in Brooklyn for a featherweight title against Holly Holm, everybody would have said ‘you’re crazy,’” de Randamie said. “But guess what? Here we are. We’re going to fight and no matter what people think one of us will the 145-pound champion. If you look at Holly’s credentials and you look at my credentials, I think we’ve both accomplished a lot for the sport. I think we absolutely belong at the top.”
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