Interim belts are designed to keep a division moving while the champion sits out due to injury. There have been plenty of legitimate cases where an interim title was necessary in order to keep things moving in the absence of a champion.
Throughout UFC history there have been plenty of legitimate cases where an interim title was necessary in order to keep things moving in the absence of a champion.
However, during a down year for pay-per-view (PPV) sales in 2017, the concept of an interim belt has also been needlessly applied to boost lagging PPVs, or to move on from an uninjured yet still inactive title holder.
We broke down the seven most pointless title bouts in UFC history, and the results may surprise you. Check them out:
7. Tony Ferguson vs Kevin Lee – UFC 216
If Conor McGregor weren’t holding up the otherwise supremely talented UFC lightweight arena, no one would complain about this main event fight at next week’s (Sat., October 7, 2017) UFC 216 being for the lightweight belt.
However, the fact that this weight class even needs an interim belt is a joke. McGregor left the division in a complete logjam while pursuing and eventually earning a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. That sabbatical did no one any favors except McGregor himself, who hasn’t defended the belt since winning it from Eddie Alvarez back at UFC 205 last November.
The worst part is, there’s zero guarantee that the winner of this interim belt will actually face McGregor upon his return. With talks of a Nate Diaz trilogy gaining traction, the interim titleholder could be stuck not fighting for the actual strap for quite some time.
Not to mention, the real interim title fight probably should have been Ferguson vs Nurmagomedov, the two rightful heirs to the lightweight throne, but Nurmagomedov’s spotty track record and inactivity forced the UFC’s hand into finding a capable dance partner.