Lightweight Title Picture Clears Up
We last saw Lightweight Champ Khabib in action November of 2018, when he defeated Conor McGregor and decided to leap off of the cage. After the dust settled on this crazy ordeal, we were left with the champ suspended. Conor has retired only to go have boxing exhibition matches. The UFC’s most competitive division was left in disarray.
Thanks to a classic bout between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier, for the Interim Championship, we now have a clear cut challenger for Khabib when he returns. Right? In the past we have seen some turmoil when it comes to Interim Championships.
Recently two names come up when talking about “meaningless” Interim championships. Colby Covington was able to secure his Interim belt by beating RDA, while Woodley the former champion was on the shelf. When Woodley returned it seemed a clear cut choice that Covington would be next in line. As it turns out the next shot was given to now Welterweight Champ Kamaru Usman.
Tony Ferguson might have the worst luck of all-time when it came to his Interim Lightweight Championship. Ferguson, who defeated Kevin Lee by triangle, had a cruel twist of fate when appearing for a UFC media obligation he tripped over a cable. Ferguson’s knee was severely injured and once again the fight was off.This trip caused a rollercoaster of events that eventually had unranked Al Iaquinta fighting Khabib for the vacant UFC Lightweight title. Ferguson tripped and then he was stripped.
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When Interim belts are brought up reactions vary greatly. Some people like Chael Sonnen have come out and have been very vocal about their importance. Many others though feel differently. Many people consider it a fake belt, which is absurd. If you tuned into UFC 236 and were able to witness the TWO Interim Championship fights you would probably have a hard time explaining that those belts are fake.
If anything should be ironed out in the UFC, it’s the role of Interim championships. At the very least an athlete who has an that title should be guaranteed an opportunity to unify the belts. Seeing someone like Dustin Poirier, who has put it on the line for the UFC time and time again, have his shot slip away would be a travesty.
One good indicator if a fight will take place is if the athletes are talking about the fight. Khabib recently had an interview where he in fact acknowledged that Poirier must be next. He also dropped some Khabib-esque lines that are sure to entertain. Check out the interview below!
Khabib admitted that he was impressed with Poirier’s performance. Specifically he noted an uptick in Dustin’s boxing. Khabib has shown a willingness to stand with his most recent opponents. This could pose an interesting opportunity for Poirier. That said, Khabib said specifically he will HAVE TO maul him. Either way come September we should see Poirier get his chance.
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