Interim Heavyweight Title Fight at UFC 265 ‘Absolutely Makes Sense’


When it was
announced
that Derrick
Lewis
and Ciryl Gane
would square off for the interim heavyweight crown at UFC
265
, it raised a lot of eyebrows in the MMA community.

After all, Francis
Ngannou
had only just claimed the belt with a second-round
knockout of Stipe
Miocic
on March 27, and plenty of promotional champions have
been sidelined for much longer without the creation of an interim
title.

However, UFC president Dana White doesn’t think that putting an
interim title up for grabs was out of line with the promotion’s
usual method of doing business.

“You knew this was coming for weeks if we didn’t get a deal done,”
White told
UFC Arabia
. “This has happened a million times.”

Ngannou’s agent, Marquel Martin, said the Lews vs. Gane booking
completely surprised the reigning champion.

“This comes as a complete shock,” Martin told ESPN. “To make an
interim title so soon, if you look at the history of this division,
it comes as a surprise.

“Francis is just now returning to the States to begin training, and
he just won the title three months ago. We’re unsure of what the
reasoning is behind this, but we hope to get clarity soon and
figure out something with the UFC soon. At the end of the day,
they’re in control of these decisions.”

Martin’s statement ultimately prompted a back-and-forth
between White and the agent on social media. Martin claimed that
Ngannou was looking to fight in September, but the promotion went
ahead with making an interim championship bout anyway.

“What happens is, we run a business and we put on fights every
Saturday night, and we needed to do that fight in Houston, we
couldn’t get the deal done, so we did an interim title fight, which
absolutely makes sense,” White told UFC Arabia.

UFC 265 takes place on Aug. 7 at the Toyota Center in Houston and
is headlined by the interim championship clash between Lewis and
Gane. In the co-main event, Amanda
Nunes
will defend her bantamweight crown against Julianna
Pena
.





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Interim Heavyweight Title Fight at UFC 265 ‘Absolutely Makes Sense’

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