There may not be anything tougher right now in the UFC than getting your hands on either the women’s bantamweight or featherweight titles. They are both currently the domain of Amanda Nunes, who has put together an impressive winning streak across two divisions.
The next challenger at bantamweight could come from Saturday’s main event bout between Germaine de Randamie and Aspen Ladd.
De Randamie has already tasted UFC gold once, she was the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champion, but getting another title shot is something she isn’t willing to talk about until after the action is finished in Sacramento.
“My only concern is Aspen Ladd, I don’t over look Aspen Ladd,” de Randamie told the TSN MMA Show. “I cannot think about what’s coming after Aspen Ladd. Ask me this question Saturday night after the fight and I will have a straight answer for you, but at this point my focus is solely on Aspen Ladd.”
“She’s young, she’s hungry and she’s not 8-0 for nothing. There is no point in thinking about Amanda if I’m still facing a young and hungry, up and coming girl that wants that title shot too.”
The 35-year-old has thought of Nunes a few times already in the past. The pair previously met at UFC: Fight for the Troops 3, with the current double champion walking away with a first round TKO victory.
Nunes is also part of the reason de Randamie never defended the featherweight belt she won at UFC 208, instead the promotion stripped her of the title after she refused to fight Cris Cyborg.
“I told the UFC, if I beat Holly (Holm), I want to fight Amanda Nunes and we agreed on that, until I won the title,” said de Randamie. “Then I decided not to fight Cyborg, because I wanted to fight Amanda Nunes and that was the agreement. It has nothing to do with Cyborg, I respect Cyborg to the fullest, it was nothing personal with her, it was just me going back to 135lbs, which I said, even before I beat Holly, I was going to do.”
With her extensive kickboxing and MMA experience, it would not be a stretch to say that de Randamie’s strengths would shine through if the action stays on the feet. However, the Utrecht, Netherlands native says she has the upper hand no matter where the fight goes.
“I believe I have the advantage on the ground too, I honestly believe that,” said de Randamie. “I don’t mind going to the ground, but there’s a lot of people watching at home and a lot of people in the stands sitting and they want to see a fight, they don’t want to see us cuddle on the ground. They want to see a fight and that’s what I want to do, I want to fight.”
“If she knocks me down and she jumps on top of me and she grounds and pounds me, I respect that. If she takes me down and just wants to lay on top of me, I just don’t like that. If I knock someone down, I’m jumping on top of them and I’m going to finish the fight there. I want to make the people in the stands and at home excited to see me fight. If the fight goes to the ground, I’m ready and I might surprise everyone.”
De Randamie has only fought four time since her 2013 loss to Nunes, but says that bad fortune has played as much of a role in that as anything. She says the Octagon is where she wants to be and plans to get back into it as soon as possible.
“I would love to stay more active, I just had two very bad injuries that kept me on the sidelines for a very long time,” said de Randamie. “It was not by choice, if you look back on my kickboxing career, I’ve had times where I’ve fought eight, maybe nine times a year. I love fighting and honestly I just told my mom I’m so happy to be here. At this point I can honestly say, this is what I love to do, this is my happy place.