The common perception is that an interim championship belt is typically held by a fighter that is supposed to take the place of a titleholder that is unable, usually due to injury, to defend his belt for an extended period of time.
The UFC already has one such designation with Carlos Condit holding the interim UFC welterweight championship and currently sitting on the sidelines waiting for a chance to unify the belt with that of Georges St-Pierre. He has not defended the interim strap since winning it by defeating Nick Diaz at UFC 143 in February, nor he says, has he been offered any other bout.
With current UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz on the sidelines for the next several months another interim belt is about to be issued when Urijah Faber and Renan Barão square off in the UFC 149 main event this weekend in Calgary.
Just what will happen with the interim UFC bantamweight championship once awarded is unknown, but each fighter has a very distinct and different view on his preference should he win the belt.
“I’m not waiting around for Dominick in any way shape or form,” proclaimed Faber on a recent UFC 149 media call. “It makes sense for Carlos Condit to wait around for George St-Pierre.
“That’s a huge fight for him, but for me, I don’t feel like that. Of course everybody wants to see the fight with Dominick and I, but I’m not going to put my life on hold because of his injuries.”
His counterpart, however, wants to be the definitive UFC champion; even if that means sitting around with the interim belt around his waist.
“I think I would want to wait to fight Dominick Cruz,” said Barão. “That’s a fight that I would really want and I would want to convert my interim title into a definitive title for the weight class.”
Condit is in a perhaps unique situation, having already given up a shot at St-Pierre so that the UFC could try to make Nick Diaz vs. GSP happen, but fans overall haven’t been pleased with the interim title going undefended the same as the regular belt.
UFC officials have yet to comment on whether or not the interim bantamweight titleholder will be given the option to defend it or not, but Faber is adamant, he wants to move forward.
“Fighting’s what I do; it’s how I make my living. It’s what I love to do. And I’ll be fighting whenever they give me the opportunity.”
His next opportunity comes against Barão on Saturday night.