With the loss of Daniel Cormier, UFC 206 may still have another fight with a belt on the line on the card.
The UFC is planning to promote Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis, which was scheduled to serve as the evening’s co-main event, to an interim featherweight title fight, according to MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani.
As of now, plan is Anthony Pettis vs. Max Holloway for the interim 145 lbs. title happening 12/10 in Toronto. That's what the UFC wants.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 26, 2016
That's per multiple sources. Should they finalize it, & it's close, Jose Aldo would become the new 145 lbs champ. McGregor? That's, well...— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 26, 2016
UFC has been pushing to strip McGregor of the 145 title for some time. Legally, they can. Would be interesting to see how he responds.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 26, 2016
This follows the news of Cormier’s injury. The UFC light heavyweight champion was forced to pull out of a rematch against Anthony Johnson, which was slated as the headliner, due to a groin injury.
If Holloway vs. Pettis is bumped up to an interim title fight, the UFC would strip 145-pound champ Conor McGregor, who also became the lightweight champ earlier this month, and promote current interim titleholder Jose Aldo to full champion status.
UFC president Dana White was adamant leading up to McGregor’s 155-pound title bid versus Eddie Alvarez that the Irishman would be forced to vacate one of his belts should he win — which he did. But McGregor wasn’t so open to the idea, saying that the organization would need “an army” to take away one of his championship titles.
Helwani also added that the initial plan was for Gegard Mousasi to step in against “Rumble” on short notice, but the 205-pound contender wasn’t interested in that matchup and wanted to wait for “DC.”
Re: 206, early plan was to do Rumble-Mousasi, but I'm told Rumble wasn't interested and wants to wait for DC. As of now, he's opponent-less.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 26, 2016
It isn’t clear what the UFC plans to do with Johnson, but if Holloway and Pettis are scheduled to fight for gold, it’s likely that the top contender would be rescheduled for a future card, most likely opposite Cormier.
UFC 206 takes place live from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ont., on Dec. 10.