Interim titles have seemed to have become a trend, albeit a slightly confusing one, in recent memory.
For example, an interim featherweight title will be on the line between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar at July 9’s blockbuster UFC 200, as well as the interim 205 pound strap that will hang in the balance in just over a week, as former divisional kingpin Jon Jones takes on late replacement Ovince St. Preux.
These choices made by the UFC have received a fair share of criticism due to the circumstances which coincide with the situation.
Regarding the 145 pound weight class, an interim title has been set in place due to champion Conor McGregor fleeing the division in order to take back to back fights at welterweight, an odd predicament in and of itself.
The light heavyweight division, on the other hand, received unfortunate news when reigning title holder Daniel Cormier was forced out of his scheduled rematch with Jones at April 23’s UFC 197. The injury, however, won’t put “DC” on the sidelines for too long, making an interim title a questionable choice at best.
One fighter who appears to be fully against the idea is top lightweight contender Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov, who recently called interim titles ‘bullsh**t’:
“I think it’s bull—-,” Nurmagomedov said after his open workout ahead of Saturday’s UFC on FOX Fight Night (Via FOX Sports). “Interim champion, what is this? I don’t understand it. For me, it’s nothing. I don’t know how you can take (a) fake belt when you have a real belt in your way. This is bull—-.”
Nurmagomedov is set to make his highly anticipated return to action this weekend opposite UFC newcomer Darell Horcer.
Teixeira also commented on the situation, saying that regardless of the interim strap, Jones, who was stripped of his long-held title due to legal issues last April, is the true champion:
“That’s the champion, and he’s going to be the champion,” said Teixeira, who lost to Jones in a unanimous decision at UFC 172 in April 2014 and then beat Saint Preux at UFC Fight Night 73 last August. “I don’t know about the interim title or whatever the title is called. It’s like martial arts and … different belt colors. Who knows? I have no comments on that.”
What do you make of the debate regarding interim titles?