This is part of The Shadow League's Women's History Month In Focus series celebrating excellence in sports, entertainment and culture.
It was in Brooklyn at UFC 208 when history was made. Veteran kickboxer turned MMA fighter, Germaine de Randamie, stepped into the Octagon against the giant killer, Holly Holm and slew her own giant. The reward for the Afro-Surinamese Dutch fighter was the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight strap.
During the fight, De Randamie landed more and thwarted Holly Holm’s wrestling advances to secure the unanimous decision, 48-47, 48-47, 48-47. Landing at a 76 percent the champ out-struck Holm, 144-122 overall and 80-77 in significant strikes.
The win did not come without some controversy, however. At the end of the second and third rounds, de Randamie continued to throw punches after the horn had sounded. The first of the punches was a right hand that visibly wobbled Holm, who had already stopped fighting. The referee did not take a point on either occasion and Holm felt this swayed the unanimous decision.
Holm attempted nine takedowns in the fight and wasn’t able to finish a single one but still appealed the decision with the New York State Athletic Commission recently and lost.
Before her MMA career began, de Randamie was a champion in a number of Kickboxing and Muay Thai promotions, holding the record for the most consecutive victories with thirty-seven. She won 46 Muay Thai matches in total before entering the world of MMA in 2008.
She began her MMA career with a 1-1 record before being signed to Strikeforce. After a 2-1 record in Strikeforce, she would be signed to the UFC when Strikeforce ceased operations. Her UFC debut was against veteran Julie Kedzie and she was able to pick up a split decision victory.
She next took on Amanda Nunes at UFC: Fight for the Troops 3 but was stopped by TKO in the first round. After being sidelined with an injury for more than a year, she was set to get back in the octagon at UFC 185 against the 10-1 Brazilian Larissa Pacheco and would look impressive with a second round TKO finish.
Before beating Holm for the gold, she looked equally impressive knocking out Anna Elmose in the first round at UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Arlovski in her native Netherlands.
With the explosion of the women’s game in both boxing and MMA, it is an inspiration to see a woman of color achieve gold in the biggest MMA organization on the planet. With a potential rematch with Holm and Cris Cyborg waiting in the wings, the future has never looked brighter for the new champ.