HYDEN’S TAKE: Quick Hits on Germaine de Randamie refusing to fight Cyborg, Tyron Woodley vs. Damian Maia early prediction

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch columnist

Holly Holm (white) vs. Germaine de Randamie (photo credit Ed Mulholland © USA Today Sports)

Germaine de Randamie was the UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion until she refused to fight Cris Cyborg. She accused Cyborg of being all juiced up and all that, which is an allegation that Cyborg has to live with based on her past. Instead of just demanding more stringent testing, though, de Randamie just didn’t want to fight Cyborg. So the UFC stripped her and made an interim title fight at UFC 214 on July 29th between Cyborg and Megan Anderson. However, Anderson had to pull out of the fight for personal reasons and now Tonya Evinger is stepping in to face Cyborg.

Having Cyborg competing for the Women’s Featherweight Title is the right move, pretty much regardless of who she faces. No offense to anyone else in that division, but Cyborg is the uncrowned champion so either she becomes the official champion or the woman who beats her is the champion. No matter what happens that night, we’ll know that the woman who wins is the real champion of that division.

I don’t think the UFC has done enough to make this a true division. The uncertainty and ambiguity of who’s actually in the division, as well as not bringing in fighters to help fill out the roster, makes it where I’m sure a lot of people have forgotten the division even exists. Now, if Cyborg wins the title, things change to a degree. You would still see a fair amount of fighters moving up from bantamweight to fight for the title once, then move back down, but at least you would have Cyborg at the head of the division.

One of the problems with the featherweight division right now is that you don’t know who’s actually in it. You have bantamweights moving up to fight once or twice in the division, then moving back down. Couple that with the fact that the UFC hasn’t brought in a lot of featherweight fighters and you start getting an identity crisis. Despite that, if you have Cyborg as your champion, you can live with that. Every division has to grow, and this would be one of the best ways for the division to grow. The UFC essentially created the Bantamweight Division for Ronda Rousey, and look at where it’s at now. Doing the same for the featherweight division and Cyborg could be just as successful.

UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley will defend his title against Demian Maia at UFC 214. As dangerous as Maia is, I have to go with Woodley here. As good as Maia is with his grappling, I think Woodley has the skills to negate some of that advantage. Woodley has big power and good wrestling, so he’ll likely be able to keep the fight standing if he wants, which is to his advantage tremendously. Of course, if Maia is able to get the fight to the ground, look out, because his jiu-jitsu is incredibly dangerous and he could easily submit Woodley. And if the fight remains standing, Woodley could easily knock Maia out. I think the fight will be exciting, but there’s definitely a possibility of it being dull.

Georges St. Pierre will face the winner of this fight. This is great news because GSP never lost the welterweight title. It’s also great because the welterweight division could use a new face and the middleweight division is still backlogged and in need of some shaking out first before anything else happens. This is the right fight for GSP, unless he would be willing to take a fight at middleweight that isn’t for the title. This is also the right move by the UFC. You bring a little spark to the welterweight division and don’t jam up the middleweight division any further. About the only person who might dislike this move would be UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping, who misses out on a big money fight. Everyone else is probably pretty happy about it.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from Bellator NYC and UFC Fight Night 112 from Fedor to Chael to Chandler to Penn


Comments and suggestions can be emailed to Frank Hyden here: hydenfrank@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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