Germaine de Randamie has no doubt about what she believes Julianna Pena is going to do in their fight on October 3.
“She’s going to shoot (for a takedown) for dear life,” de Randamie told UFC.com. “They will all do that. They will not stand and trade. I believe they will not do that. None of them.”
That’s quite a claim, even for someone with de Randamie’s kickboxing resume. Undefeated in sanctioned kickboxing bouts, the Dutchwoman stood firm in that belief when I inquired whether she believes there is anyone on the UFC roster who would engage with her in a standup battle.
“No,” she said, flatly. “None of them. I wish they would. I’d like a bonus, and I believe we could get a bonus, but no, I don’t believe any of them would do that, unfortunately.”
Even more unfortunate for de Randamie, her bantamweight title shot provided even more evidence toward that belief. Amanda Nunes, who finished five of her previous six title bouts, opted for a wrestling-based approach against de Randamie and completed eight of 11 takedown attempts.
De Randamie, in the short bursts where the two traded strikes, seemed to have the advantage over the consensus G.O.A.T. She found a decent amount of success in the second round, but it didn’t matter as Nunes secured takedown after takedown. Nunes found her path to victory, and at the end of the night, each judge gave her the nod, leaving de Randamie with plenty of questions to answer about herself and her performance.
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“I think I made it easy for her,” de Randamie said. “I didn’t really stick to the plan, which I should have, which I hadn’t. I believe I made it easy on her, and at the same time, I learned so much about myself and the traps I can fall into, and sometimes which I fell into. It made me so much stronger. I learned so much from that fight.”
Particularly, de Randamie knows she needs to stay committed to the game plan she and her coaches come up with for each fight. She fell in love with the temptation to walk her opponent down and throw bombs against Nunes, and while that would have provided fans some fireworks, it didn’t put de Randamie in position to fend off Nunes’ grappling.
With that in mind, de Randamie believes Nunes set the tone for how each opponent will fight her going forward.
“I think I exposed (Nunes) in that sense that she is not going to do that,” she said. “She doesn’t want to stand and bang with me, and I don’t expect Julianna to do that. If the champ doesn’t do that, why would she want to stand and trade with me?”
And so, de Randamie is left in the precarious position as the No. 1 bantamweight contender fresh off a failed title shot. All she can really do is defend her spot until she proves herself worthy of another crack at the crown. The one-time featherweight champion is admittedly skeptical of whether she would go back up to challenge for that title, which Nunes is scheduled to defend against Megan Anderson at some point.
“I absolutely respect those girls, but there are not a lot of girls in that division,” de Randamie said. “Maybe if the division was very competitive and it was a big division, I might consider it. But I am a very small 145er, though. I don’t know. I just…I don’t know. We’ll see. Right now, the most important thing is I gotta fight Julianna Pena. I cannot overlook her. She can still beat me.”
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While training for Pena, de Randamie has had to balance her other full-time job as a police officer in the Netherlands.
Even amidst the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns across the world, de Randamie’s job required her to show up to work every day, which she didn’t mind. It came with some stress, though, as she didn’t want to get her loved ones sick at home while she was more exposed on a day-to-day basis, but she still relished the chance to assist people in some capacity.
De Randamie also emphasized that she and her fellow officers didn’t have any problems when they encountered protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.
“My job, for me, is helping people,” she said. “I want to help people. Sometimes, things happen, but I’m not that person. If somebody in the streets meets me as a police officer, I will treat them with respect. I will treat everybody with respect. I’m not a judge. I don’t have to judge. The judge will judge. I’m just here. I just want to help people. I don’t like violence, and that is weird for me to say because I use violence in the cage, but it’s friendly violence. I don’t like to use violence in my work, and I’ve never used it, and I hope I will never use it. I like to treat people with respect, and the people I meet as a police officer, I treat them with respect, and they give me respect back. People can be mad, but it’s not personal to me. If they are mad at a situation, it’s not personal to me, and I respect everybody.”
Her mind is on fighting now, though. She is excited for the fun story of competing on Fight Island, but more so in just getting back on track and in the winner’s circle. Despite her belief Pena isn’t going to want to engage with her on the feet, de Randamie is hoping to put on a show worthy of a performance bonus because that means she got an opportunity to put her best foot forward and throw leather.
“I believe we get paid a lot of money to make a great show and not to lay and pray,” she said. “I made it so easy that it was easy for (Nunes) to do that. I just really gotta stick to the plan we have. The knockout will come. It will come. When I touch them, it will come.”
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