If you’re like me, you’re not a huge fan of the interim belts in the UFC. I find it’s just a way to get the casual fans to tune in and watch. Not bashing the model, I just dont believe the winner is a champion. The Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya fight was amazing and was for the interim title. Now Israel is guaranteed a shot vs the current champ Robert |Whitaker. In most cases, you winning the Interim Title meant a guaranteed fight for the unified title. This is until the UFC has no more use for you. Look at Colby Covington and Tony Ferguson. Covington defeated Rafael Dos Anjos last June and was later stripped due to inactivity. Colby wanted to fight Tyron Woodley to unify the belts but he refused a fight and the UFC went on to the next one in line which was Darren Till. If the UFC didn’t have plans for Woodley to defend the belt vs the winner of Dos Anjos and Colby then why make it for the interim title? This is why a tournament style series of fights would’ve been ideal until Woodley was healthy enough to fight. Colby and Dana have been publicly going after each other, but in Dana’s defense Colby goes after everyone. Challenging guys at events, going after them on Twitter all while holding his interim title belt that was stripped. Unless you’re a big draw, you have to kiss Dana’s ass to get what you want.
The UFC can learn this process by watching Bellator. This weekend we saw a the Welterweight Bellator Champion Rory Macdonald fight Jon Fitch in the Welterweight 16 man tournament. The decision came to a unanimous draw and saw Rory advance to the next round to fight Neiman Gracie. May 11th, we’ll see Michael Venom Page fight Douglas Lima. The winners of those fights will meet in the finals to determine the true champion at 170.
Here is my proposal for a UFC Light Heavyweight Tournament
Instead of just giving random guys title fights vs Jon Jones to watch them get lit up by the undisputed GOAT of MMA. You run a 8 man tournament that would put the best of the best against eachother for a chance.
There’s a lot od new blood in the LHW division. My HYPOTHETICAL bracket is based on these new guys. SO goodbye Cormier, Gustafsson and Oezdemir.
|3- Thiago Santos (21-6)|
|NR- Khalil Rountree (8-3-1)|
|5- Dominick Reyes (11-0)|
|12- Johnny Walker (17-3)|
|4- Anthony Smith (31-14)|
|15- Nikita Krylov (25-6)|
|6- Jan Blachowicz (23-8)|
|8- Corey Anderson (13-4)|
Two alternates in my bracket would be Misha Cirkunov and Ilir Latifi. Obviously this will never happen. But it would be very interesting, it also builds up these fighters and creates a lot of hype around the fights. I know I would love to see it!