UFC welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, does not approve of the UFC’s idea for interim championship titles. In a recent media appearance in Los Angeles alongside fellow welterweight, Ben Askren, Woodley expressed his opinions on the UFC having a substitute belt for situations when the champion may not be present for a title defense. With the April 13th, UFC 236 card right around the corner featuring two interim title bouts, Woodley, and Askren seemingly wish that this was not the case.
Scheduled for the city of Atlanta, the UFC has booked its fighters for both its co-main and main event exhibitions at UFC 236. An interim lightweight championship contest between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier will act as the co-main event while Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum are expected to battle it out for the interim middleweight title. While speaking with MMAJunkie, Tyron Woodley reflected on the matter by saying:
“This is the funny thing to me. The interim belt is the biggest joke on earth. But there’s two in one night, though. Ooh, a stacked card! A double interim belt. 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.”
With Khabib Nurmagomedov having a nine-month suspension to bear and Robert Whittaker recovering from a collapsed bowel, the UFC seems to be looking at no other alternative besides the interim championships. This arrangement isn’t fair play to the top contenders in the division, considering the challenges that come with climbing rankings. But for the UFC, if it makes money while simultaneously attracting potential pay-per-view buyers, it seems to be making sense.