This Saturday is UFC 206 and is headlined by Max Holloway versus Anthony Pettis, for the UFC Interim Featherweight Championship. However, these guys are fighting in a situation where the outcome will be disputed and dissected, in regards to the interim title. No matter who wins the fight, it will spark debates about paper champions, fake belts, and the validity of the title. No? Ask Daniel Cormier what he deals with on a daily basis.
Follow me for a second… Jose Aldo was the featherweight champion. He got injured frequently enough to make the UFC brass decide to make an interim title. So, Conor McGregor beat Chad Mendes and became the interim featherweight champion. At that point, the featherweight division technically had 2 champions. Still with me? Then, Conor McGregor beat Jose Aldo and unified the belts. McGregor is the undisputed featherweight champion.
Aldo wants a rematch with McGregor, but the UFC are only interested in the big money fights. They were really pushing for Conor McGregor to be the first UFC fighter to hold belts in two weight classes, concurrently. He was paired up against then champion, Raphael Dos Anjos. RDA gets hurt and is replaced by Nate Diaz, who is battling food poisoning in Mexico, for a short notice fight. The UFC feel they need to replace the featherweight title, so Aldo fights Frankie Edgar and wins an interim title.
On paper, Aldo won the interim interim title. Conor moves to 155 and wins the belt from Eddie Alvarez and decides he’s going to take almost a year off to have a baby with his long time girlfriend. With that, Dana White decides to strip Conor of his featherweight belt and put it on Aldo, who has now decided that he is definitely, maybe, not quite sure, but possibly, retiring.
How does the UFC rectify this issue? By making and interim interim interim title fight between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis, while Aldo is the undisputed champion; yet, not fighting.
We come full circle and find ourselves watching 2 guys fighting for the vacated title that wasn’t vacated, while having an actual undisputed champion in that division.
Everyone wants to see the Holloway vs Pettis fight, as it screams ‘Fight of the Year’. This round robin of title holder drama, mixed in with the McGregor and Aldo circus, really takes away from what a great fight Holloway vs Pettis is. I expect to see the best Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway in this fight. Not because they are fighting for this belt that no one really knows the importance of, but because these guys will bring out the best in each other.
This is a fight we all need to just watch and enjoy, regardless of the mess that the title picture is in. Be blessed. It’s showtime.