1st Round Knockout: Interim Champions Should Defend The Belt In The UFC

Perhaps my biggest MMA pet peeve, besides teammates who won’t fight each other (Josh Koscheck-Jon Fitch and Rory MacDonald-Georges St. Pierre I’m looking at you) are interim champions who decide to sit on the shelf for long periods of time waiting for a parenthetical unification fight.

After Carlos Condit decided to wait for GSP to return from a knee injury to re-enter the Octagon, Renan Barao will follow Condit’s lead and wait for Dominik Cruz to return to action.

Dana White co-signed the matter.

“Barao is the interim champion. If he chooses to fight and defend that title, before Cruz is ready, cool. If not? Then he’s definitely fighting Cruz next.”

I understand that there is no value in losing to a lesser fighter. If you have a title shot locked up, it behooves you to wait until the champion is ready. But it holds the division hostage.

A champion shouldn’t do that. A champion should fight.

At welterweight, instead of garnering a title shot Johny Hendricks will have to face Martin Kampmann in what is a number one contenders’ bout. Both have done enough to warrant a shot at Condit.

He should have been forced to fight one of them. I understand that it’s not the official belt but, for the time being, Condit is the welterweight champion. He should begin to act like one.

“The Natural Born Killer” earned his title shot. He defeated a who’s who list of challengers. There’s no doubt about that. But there is a responsibility of becoming champion.

Theoretically, the UFC champ is the best fighter in his division in the world.

If you deserve to be a champion you will put the belt on the line. You will defend it to the best of your ability and you will fight all comers, given they are qualified.

Defending the interim belt will count as a legitimate title defense. It adds to your legacy. If you defeat the champion when he returns, your legacy is greater.

It also takes away excuses. I don’t want to hear rustiness anywhere near a title bout.

If Condit can’t defeat Kampmann or Hendricks he doesn’t deserve to fight GSP, plain and simple. St. Pierre is an all-time great, perhaps the best welterweight of all-time. He’s already better than Matt Hughes. That’s saying something. So don’t come to him half-stepping.

Follow the precedent that GSP set. Act like a champion.


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