This summer at UFC 213 on July 8th, top ranked middleweight contenders Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker will square off for the interim middleweight title in a highly anticipated showdown to crown the middleweight #1 contender. While the winner will be crowned the interim middleweight champion, more importantly, they will secure a title fight with middleweight champion Michael Bisping.
The way the champ sees it however, an interim belt is next to meaningless. He spoke to OddsBible:
“It doesn’t mean anything; interim belts aren’t worth the leather they’re printed on. An interim belt is a joke, I defended the belt in October and I’ve had a bit of a knee issue, but it’s the UFC’s decision, and if they want to do that, then good for them! All it does is solidify who the number one contender is,”
“They’ve got to sell pay-per-views. Dana asked me to fight in July, which I said I couldn’t as I’d had two knee surgeries at the start of the year and the recovery time hasn’t gone to plan,” he added.
“It’s taking longer than expected so he asked did I mind an interim title fight so I said do what you’ve got to do. It doesn’t bother me.”
Bisping has been on a tear of the UFC’s middleweight division over the course of the last 2 years, going 5-0 as he defeated Anderson Silva in London, before then claiming the middleweight title four months later on short notice when he knocked out Luke Rockhold. Following his win over Rockhold, Bisping defended his belt for the first time against Dan Henderson in a highly anticipated rematch that saw both men awarded with ‘Fight of the Night’ honors.
Only time will tell who Bisping will defend his belt against when he is able to return to the Octagon.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/15/2017.