The UFC doesn’t have a set of guidelines it would appear that they follow when it comes to deciding to create an interim title.
When Randy Couture and his contract issues came about several years ago, it was an obvious time to create an interim UFC heavyweight championship.
More recently, the knee issues surrounding Georges St-Pierre made it a good idea to pair Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz in an interim title match that would eventually lead to the winner facing off with GSP and crowning an undisputed UFC welterweight champion.
Now, as news continues to filter in that UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz has suffered a torn ACL, the UFC must make take the proactive step and create an interim title-holder in his absence.
That leads to the most obvious question: who should be paired in the bout?
Well, Urijah Faber needs to be one-half of the pairing, as “The California Kid” was set to face Cruz for the belt at UFC 148 in July. Along with Cruz, Faber has helped pushed the division – and his own name out there – by appearing on The Ultimate Fighter: Live. As a former champion in the WEC, Faber is a sound selection for the spot.
So, who should the UFC pick to place inside the Octagon with Faber? To me, that’s a pretty obvious selection as well: Renan Barao.
Widely considered the next contender to the belt, Barao is already scheduled to fight on the same July 7 card against Ivan Menjivar. He has not lost since his pro debut in 2005, including three wins in the UFC over Cole Escovedo, Brad Pickett and Scott Jorgensen.
If the UFC does not place an interim-title status on a Faber-Barao match at UFC 148, there is no reason to leave the fight in the co-main event spot. With Forrest Griffin-Tito Ortiz set to square off the same night, and it being the final match for Ortiz, that would/should take the position.
However, Faber has helped to bring the spotlight to the smaller weight classes, and deserves to be awarded for all his years of hard work in the WEC and since the merger between the WEC and UFC.
Put an interim title up for grabs, and pair Faber with Barao and let the fireworks go off a few days after the July holiday.