This past week, the news broke that UFC 135 lb Champion Dominick ‘The Dominator’ Cruz has torn his ACL, and that the UFC 148 showdown with Urijah Faber is off. It was to have been the third bout between the two top 135 lbers on the UFC’s roster. Cruz is the champion and title holder, but he is 1-1 against Faber and both men were spending season 15 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ building hype for their third match. So what does Dana White and the UFC brass announce? That Faber will be fighting for an ‘interim’ title while Cruz recovers. This marks the second weight class where the UFC will have multiple belts in play, and it really only serves to cheapen the value odf the belts. Dana should just take the page out of the World Boxing Council’s book and tear it out – go ahead and crown Diamond Champions, and Silver Champions, and Nevada State Champions and more interim champions.
The likely opponent for Faber is Renan Barao, a Brazilian fighter who owns an impressive record and is undefeated in the UFC.
Barao is a protege. He is a teammate of Jose Aldo, who is the UFC’s 145 lb champion and has already established his dominance. Aldo sent Faber packing to the 135 lb division.
The only other real possibility is young Michael McDonald, who has been impressive and has a 15-1 record.
I favor Barao in a fight with Faber, McDonald I am not so sure. The lines will be set by the experts, but Barao will win the fight with Faber if the UFC goes that way.
But none of this explains why the UFC Title has to be cheapened and watered down with yet another interim title. At least the WBC blatantly collects sanctioning fees and their interst in having as many titles as possible is financial. But what does the UFC have to gain from utilizing these interim belts?
Sure the ACL injury to Cruz means the title will not be in play for what is likely to be a year. But let’s look at the example in the 170 lb weight class. If Nick Diaz-Carlos Condit had been a number one contenders match, what would have been the difference? Condit now has a belt, but he is sitting and waiting for GSP. All the UFC accomplished in the 170 lb class is they now have two inactive belts. After that eventuality, how they can rush to create another ‘interim’ title makes no sense at all.