UFC 236, which goes down on April 13 in Atlanta, will feature not one but two interim title fights, as Max Holloway battles Dustin Poirier for interim gold at lightweight, and Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya fight for the same honor at middleweight. UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley, who has seen interim titles created in his division previously, is not a fan of this practice by the UFC.
Tyron Woodley shared his thoughts on the UFC’s interim title obsession at a Monday media lunch (transcript via MMAjunkie).
“This is the funny thing to me,” Woodley said. “The interim belt is the biggest joke on earth.
“Ooh, a stacked card! A double interim belt,” Woodley joked, referencing UFC 236. “I’m not trying to hate, because I’m not trying to get my ass back in the dog house. … But when you think about it, you’ve got a current champion, which out of all champions, Max Holloway may be our favorite champion. If you ask all the champions who their favorite champion is, we might all say Max Holloway. He don’t have to go up to fight for an interim belt. Unless he’s fighting for an actual lightweight belt, it doesn’t make sense.”
While Tyron Woodley is not a fan of the UFC 236 interim lightweight title fight between Holloway and Poirier, which is meant to keep the division moving in undisputed champ Khabib Nurmagomedov’s absence, he says the interim middleweight title fight between Adesanya and Gastelum is more justifiable.
“When you’re looking at Gastelum (vs.) Adesanya interim belt, in that situation I think it’s warranted,” Woodley said.
Yet Tyron Woodley feels the interim title that was created in own division, awarded to Colby Covington in June of 2018, was completely unnecessary.
“In my situation, there was no need for an interim belt,” Woodley said. “I hadn’t even been out eight months, and I would’ve fought the person maybe the next month. I think when you do an interim just to do an interim, it takes away the juice from having a real belt.
“When you just got guys asking to fight for an interim strap, it’s like saying, ‘Well, let me fight for second place.’ It’s just weird to me.”
Tyron Woodley returns to the cage this Saturday night, in the co-main event of UFC 235, where he’ll attempt to defend his title against Kamaru Usman.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/25/2019.