At UFC 236, the card will be headlined with an interim lightweight fight between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier. Then, in the co-main event Israel Adesanya will be taking on Kelvin Gastelum for the interim middleweight title. It is the first time in UFC history that the main and co-main event will be headlined with interim title fights.
Well, for some, they aren’t happy about it, as in the past the interim title hasn’t meant anything. As interim welterweight champion, Colby Covington was passed over twice. Meanwhile, the interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson was also passed over. That has reuslted in UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley to speak out and give his thoughts on interim titles.
“This is the funny thing to me,” Woodley said Monday during a media lunch in Los Angeles. “The interim belt is the biggest joke on earth.
“Ooh, a stacked card! A double interim belt,” Woodley said sarcastically. “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.”
Although Woodley does believe interim belts are warranted sometimes, as in the middleweight one. He think the majority of times it isn’t, as just look at the interim welterweight title for example.
“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,” Woodley concluded.
No matter what, interim belts will continue to happen whether fighters like it or not.