UFC president Dana White will start up the promotion’s schedule in a big way starting on Saturday, running four events in two weeks. The headliner of UFC 249 was supposed to see Khabib Nurmagomedov taking on Tony Ferguson for the undisputed UFC lightweight title. Unfortunately, Khabib is locked down in Russia, so the UFC decided to go the interim title route and Ferguson will fight Justin Gaethje for a placeholder belt.
Could that be the case with the champs in other divisions as well, if they’re not able or unwilling to defend their titles while the coronavirus pandemic is still raging?
In the case of heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, it doesn’t seem likely. Daniel Cormier has called for an August trilogy bout with Miocic, but Stipe thinks it’s unlikely he’ll be able to get in a full camp by then, due to gyms being closed and his state being in lockdown for at least another month.
When asked if there may be a heavyweight interim title fight, as some are calling for, Dana told Barstool Sports on their podcast that it’s not on the table right now, but you should be ready to defend if the Octagon is open:
“I don’t think so. We’ll see a championship fight. Listen, fights can happen right now. You either want to fight or you don’t.”
Could that be the case in other divisions though?
“Possibly,” White said.
Obviously this will play out on a case-by-case basis. The bantamweight title is being defended this weekend, for example. The women’s featherweight title is likely to be defended on June 6th. There are some international champions, and “Fight Island” might be an option for them. But there could be a couple more UFC belts kicking about in the next few months.