Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has no qualms about creating interim titles to spice things up, particularly when it makes for better promotion. That’s why Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje was booked for the substitute strap, despite a definitive timeline for the return of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
To that end, heavyweight contender Jairzinho Rozenstruik is campaigning to have his hard-hitting showdown against Francis Ngannou converted to an interim title fight, because current division kingpin, Stipe Miocic, is sidelined until further notice and unable to complete his Daniel Cormier trilogy.
“I think the heavyweight division needs that,” Ngannou told MMA Junkie. “It’s kind of slowed down with the Stipe and Cormier fight, and we don’t know when the champ is going to return. So for now, put in an interim belt. I think the heavyweight (division) needs it to move forward.”
The 10-0 “Bigi Boy” is expected to collide with Ngannou at the upcoming pay-per-view (PPV) event on May 9, which already features three potential title fights. The winner of Rozenstruik-Ngannou is a lock for the winner of Miocic-Cormier 3, assuming the coronavirus timeout doesn’t retire “DC.”
“What’s better than to fight for a title in a big match?” Rozenstruik asked. “It’s already a big match, and if you put in the (interim) title, it’s going to be more interesting for both of us. But for now, it’s still the same: It’s a fight. I want it really bad, and when it happens, I’ll be in the best shape ever.”
Rozenstruick, 32, was last seen knocking out Alistair Overeem at UFC on ESPN 7.