Stephen Thompson, who battles surging British contender Darren Till in the main event of the UFC’s Saturday night debut in Liverpool, England, is not a fan of the UFC’s choice to crown an interim welterweight champion. It’s his belief that by crowning the winner of Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington’s UFC 225 battle the interim welterweight champ, the promotion diminishes the value of the actual welterweight belt, which is currently owned by Tyron Woodley.
“I don’t think so at all,” Thompson told BloodyElbow last week, when asked if he believed an interim title needed to be created. “If [Woodley]’s out for another year or two, then probably yeah, I think you should. But if he’s saying he’s gonna be back in July or August, there’s no reason why you should be fighting for an interim title.”
“It almost diminishes the value of the title, because they’re just throwing it out there — it’s like, ‘You can fight for an interim title, sure.’ I don’t think they should be fighting for an interim title,” he added. “If [Woodley] says he’ll be back in July or August, then just say, ‘Hey, the winner of this will fight for the title.’ I don’t know what the UFC is playing at or what their thinking is when it comes to the interim title. But they’re just like, ‘You can fight for it anytime. Anybody can fight for an interim title.'”
Thompson, who currently holds the number-one spot in the UFC welterweight rankings, also commented on his matchup with the eighth-ranked Darren Till.
“I think it’s just politics,” Thompson said. “I think that they are trying to make that market out there [in Liverpool]. And he’s calling me out, so why not make that happen? I fought for the title twice, and I guess they don’t want to see it again until I prove myself again. I think that’s just what the UFC is thinking.”
Whatever the case, Stephen Thompson remains focused on capturing the UFC welterweight title. How long it takes him to earn another crack at the belt, of course, will depend on who emerges from the upcoming Dos Anjos-Covington-Woodley skirmish.
“It all comes down to this fight, whoever wins between Colby Covington and RDA and Tyron,” he added.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/21/2018.