Germaine de Randamie hasn’t had much time to celebrate becoming the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champion.
In the wake of her unanimous decision victory over Holly Holm last weekend in Brooklyn, the 32-year-old titleholder has been in the center of a media storm, stuck answering a bevy of questions about her performance, her post-fight comments, potential future opponents and possibly chasing a second title. While she received a warm welcome when she returned home to Holland, the avalanche of interviews and appearances that come with claiming UFC gold have prevented the newest member of the exclusive “Champion’s Club” from cutting loose and relishing what she accomplished at UFC 208.
But that changes this weekend.
More from UFC 208: Full results | de Randamie makes history by defeating Holm | Silva, Jacare, Teixeira get main card wins | Fighters go distance for prelim wins
Watch Octagon interviews: Germaine de Randamie, Anderson Silva, Ryan LaFlare
Backstage interviews: Anderson Silva, Jacare Souza, Glover Teixeira
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“There are moments where I have absolutely enjoyed it, but there are moments where not really,” de Randamie said of becoming champion while speaking with the media on Thursday afternoon. “It truly upsets me that people say I’m a dirty fighter, but at the same time, when I came home, my home country welcomed me like a hero and they respected me and showed me a lot of love.
“Saturday, something very special is about to happen. I get the honors in my home city where I have been born and raised,” the native of Utrecht, Netherlands said. “Definitely this Saturday the party is going to really start. We’re going to enjoy it to the fullest with everybody that supported me – my team, my friends, my family – so it’s going to be one helluva party.”
Celebrations aside, the scuttlebutt surrounding de Randamie’s championship win and what comes next for the newly crowned champion doesn’t seem like it is going to die down any time soon.
Holm has lodged a formal appeal with the New York State Athletic Commission, suggesting that referee Todd Anderson should have deducted a point from de Randamie for throwing strikes after the horn in the second and third rounds.
Immediately following the bout, de Randamie apologized for her actions and has since offered Holm an immediate rematch in hopes of putting the controversy to rest, both of which she doubled down on during Thursday’s media call.
“The thing is, it was a fight and heated exchanges, nothing more,” began de Randamie when asked about the sequences at the end of the second and third rounds. “When I throw a combination, I’m in the combination. It’s very hard to pull my hands back when I’m already in the combination.
“I try to hear the bell and stop, but sometimes when you’re in a heated moment, you’re in the fight; you get hit, you hit somebody. It was never – absolutely never – intentional and that’s what upsets me so much. People trying to say that I’m a dirty fighter, but I’m not a dirty fighter. It really hurts me when people say that because I’ve never had any bad intentions and I truly respect Holly and I respect the UFC and I respect Holly’s camp. It’s sad that things like this happen right now.
“I believe if Holly feels that those are the reasons she lost the fight and she’s looking to make it a no contest or a draw – she should accept the offer that I put out to rematch her,” she said, adding later in the call that the controversy and Holm’s appeal of the result has not diminished her respect for the former women’s bantamweight champion and her team.
“If you look at the fight, in my opinion, I won the fight. I understand that she’s not happy about it and that’s why I made the offer to her to fight again.”
Before she can return to the Octagon, however, de Randamie has a date with her doctor to discuss the status of her damaged hand.
Following her victory last weekend, “The Iron Lady” told Joe Rogan that she had suffered the injury during her UFC 185 fight with Larissa Pacheco and needed to further investigate the severity of the injury prior to setting out a path for her first title defense.
Many were caught off guard by the statement, given that her bout with Pacheco took place nearly two years ago and de Randamie has competed twice since then, including Saturday’s five-round affair with Holm, without showing any real signs of being injured.
“During this camp it started to bother me more and more,” said de Randamie, explaining her post-fight comments and current course of action regarding her hand. “I visited an orthopedic surgeon – a hand specialist – who checked out my hand and he said, ‘You probably need surgery because you have some torn ligaments in the hand.’
“At this point, I haven’t been able to see a doctor yet because I’ve been so busy, so I will see a doctor again and they will evaluate and then I will know more what the next thing will be. The doctor told me (surgery) is not something I can avoid; the only thing is I don’t want to have permanent damage, so that’s why I want to know if I can do it right now or I can do it (at a later time).”
If she can put it off, the tough-as-nails kickboxer, who will be back to work as a police officer on Monday morning, will do just that and set about defending her title.
But first, she’s going to celebrate with her family, friends, teammates and everyone else in Utrecht.
E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance MMA journalist who covers the sport for The Province newspaper in Vancouver. Follow his work on Twitter @spencerkyte