Earlier I reported on a social media exchange between welterweight contender, Darren Till and champion, Tyron Woodley. The tweets suggested that interim titilist, Colby Covington is out and that Till is negotiating the Woodley fight in his place.
Ariel Helwani is reporting that this is in fact the case. The UFC are looking to book Tyron Woodley on the UFC 228 card in Dallas. However, that event is scheduled for September 8th and Covington has said he will not be ready by then.
The UFC are planning to strip Colby Covington of the welterweight interim title and book Darren Till against Woodley instead.
The interim title was initially used to pressure an absent champion into facing the emergent challenger.
However, it has since become a narrative device of sorts. It is designed to signal the next title challenger to the audience in a period of weight-class cross-pollination. It is also a method of raising the stakes on the eventual bout.
Stephen Thompson was the number one contender when Till beat him. Thompson’s last three bouts were against world champions. Two fights against Woodley that went the distance and a win over Rory MacDonald in between. MacDonald went on to become Bellator’s 170 pound champion.
Regardless of who get’s the next shot at the belt, welterweight is one of the most exciting divisions in MMA.