Oh, boy. In a desperate attempt to validate UFC 206 as a card worthy of $59.95 of your pay-per-view dollars, the UFC has decided to manufacture an interim featherweight title tilt between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis as the show’s new main event.
MMAFighting.com first reported the news Saturday. The UFC has yet to address the situation.
Light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier was originally slated to defend his crown against Anthony Johnson in the card’s featured attraction, but Cormier has suffered an undisclosed injury that forced him off the December 10 event.
But Jose Aldo is already the UFC’s interim featherweight champ, you say. This move means the UFC intends on stripping champion Conor McGregor (pictured) of his featherweight belt and promoting Aldo into his place, allowing McGregor to just retain his freshly minuted lightweight throne.
McGregor captured the featherweight gold last December by knocking out Aldo in 13 seconds. He never defended it, instead losing, then beating Nate Diaz in welterweight bouts and thrashing Eddie Alvarez earlier this month to hoist the lightweight hardware.
McGregor made history by becoming the first fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold two different titles. UFC president Dana White said McGregor would be forced to relinquish one of the belts, while McGregor claimed White would need to “bring an army” in order to take one of the belts from him.
Apparently, you don’t need an army when you’re the boss.
The good news for McGregor is that he can once again be a two-way UFC champion if he decides to go after Tyron Woodley’s welterweight belt. Although, White said last week that McGregor isn’t expected to return earlier than May in anticipation of the birth of his first child.
Anyway, back to UFC 206, one of the UFC’s most talent deprived PPV cards of the year. Based on luck, timing and his star power, Pettis finds himself in a title bout after posting a win over Charles Oliveira in his featherweight debut. He had lost three straight lightweight affairs prior to dropping divisions.
Pettis’ first defeat during that skid was in a landslide loss to Rafael Dos Anjos that cost him his lightweight gold.
Holloway, meanwhile, is one of the division’s hottest fighters having rattled off nine consecutive wins since losing to McGregor in 2013. “Blessed” had been campaigning for a championship fight in his next outing, against either McGregor or Aldo, so today’s news works out nicely for the Hawaiian.
Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada hosts UFC 206.
Here is the card’s updated roster:
Jordan Mein vs. Emil Meek
Chad Laprise vs. Li Jingliang
Poliana Botelho vs. Valerie Letourneau
Rustam Khabilov vs. Jason Saggo
Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Drew Dober
Mitch Gagnon vs. Matthew Lopez
John Makdessi vs. Lando Vannata
Zach Makovsky vs. John Moraga
Misha Cirkunov vs. Nikita Krylov
Cub Swanson vs. Dooho Choi
Donald Cerrone vs. Matt Brown
Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis (For vacant UFC featherweight title)