Recently, the UFC brass has received some mixed reactions from fans regarding interim titles. Over the course of the last year, the UFC has put on several interim title fights where some fans feel they were unnecessary.
At UFC 197 in April of 2016, UFC pound for pound kingpin Jon Jones stepped into the Octagon against Ovince Saint Preux after Daniel Cormier was forced out of his scheduled bout with Jones. Jones and Saint Preux fought for the interim light heavyweight title, with Jones winning the fight via unanimous decision after a 5-round scrap. Unfortunately due to his out-of-comeptition drug testing failure, which was deemed to be a result of a tainted supplement, Jones was stripped of the interim belt.
In July, Jose Aldo returned to the Octagon for the first time since his UFC 194 loss to Conor McGregor. Aldo stepped into the Octagon with Frankie Edgar for an interim featherweight title fight. Ultimately, Aldo won the bout, and was eventually promoted to undisputed champion after McGregor relinquished the undisputed belt after winning the lightweight championship at UFC 205.
In December of 2016, after Daniel Cormier was forced out of his scheduled UFC 206 light heavyweight title fight with Anthony Johnson, the UFC promoted the co-main event scrap between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis to the main event, and made the fight an interim featherweight title fight, with the winner moving on to face Jose Aldo at a later date. Ultimately, Max Holloway won the belt via 3rd round TKO, and now holds the interim UFC lightweight title.
With Conor McGregor currently sidelined due to the upcoming birth of his firstborn child, the UFC has opted to have an interim lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, with the winner fighting Conor McGregor at a later date.
Ahead of that fight, former UFC champion Frankie Edgar spoke on The MMA Hour to weigh-in on the recent string of interim title fights:
“I just think they’re getting silly with these interim titles. It’s a little too much. They’re already taking Conor’s 55 one away. I just don’t get it.”
With that being said, Frankie Edgar would be willing to drop to 135 to fight for the undisputed title:
“If they offered me a title shot, I wouldn’t be able to turn it down. But I’m not gonna go down there and fight a contender fight and do that, not while I’m as close as I am, I believe still, at 145. Especially since we don’t know what’s gonna happen. I don’t want to leave yet and s–t gets figured out and I’m sitting here fighting in a 135-pound contender fight when I could have been fighting for a 145-pound title.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/8/2017.