Florian, Tate criticize the UFC handing out so many interim titles lately
At UFC 209, an interim lightweight champion will be crowned when Khabib Nurmagomedov meets Tony Ferguson in a fight that takes place less than four months after Conor McGregor took the real title away from Eddie Alvarez.
Meanwhile, the UFC crowned an interim featherweight champion in Jose Aldo just seven months after he was knocked out in 13 seconds by McGregor, who was locked into a pair of fights with Nate Diaz that kept him away from any potential title defenses last year.
Finally, when light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier suffered an injury that forced him out of the main event at UFC 206, the promotion then declared Aldo the undisputed champion before handing out yet another interim title to Max Holloway after he defeated Anthony Pettis.
In the past, the UFC has only introduced interim titles at times when the champions have been forced out of action for long periods of time such as Dominick Cruz sitting on the sidelines with a damaged knee, which resulted in a second bantamweight championship being handed out in his absence.
Former title contender Kenny Florian says the UFC should go back to that system because the excuses being made to hand out interim belts these days are becoming rather obvious. In most cases, the interim championships are being introduced when an event needs a main event or another marquee fight rather than out of necessity because the real title holder in the division is unable to defend the belt.
“There should only be one reason for an interim title, that’s if the champion’s going to be out for a period about a year or longer,” Florian said on “UFC Tonight”. “Other than that, I think people are seeing right through it.
“It’s kind of just a marketing gimmick if you ask me.”
Former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate agrees with Florian when it comes to the subject of interim titles in the UFC.
Tate explains her reasoning different than Florian, but the outcome is ultimately still the same with a lot of title belts being handed out that don’t really mean what a championship is supposed to signify when it’s finally captured.
“Yes it does [devalue the title] and here’s why — it’s like giving out two gold medals at the Olympics,” Tate explained. “I think there should be one champion per division, period.
“Otherwise, you’re really just crowning a No. 1 contender.”
The UFC will end up handing out a total of three interim titles in less than a one-year period after issuing the belts on only nine other occasions in promotional history.