Whether an inactive champ should have the belt stripped is always a contentious issue, and now the UFC has entered these waters once again, regarding Cain Velasquez. The heavyweight champ should be ready to return to action in March, 2015, but recently Dana White raised a few thousand eyebrows, by saying Velasquez could be stripped if he’s not ready to go.
Tomorrow’s interim title fight between Fabricio Werdum and Mark Hunt was announced a couple of weeks ago, after Velasquez withdrew from UFC 180, due to a knee injury. So what does Velasquez think about interim titles? And all this talk that he could be stripped of the belt if he’s sidelined even longer?
While speaking to the media recently in Mexico City, Velasquez stated (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“It’s the interim belt, you know,” Velasquez said. “It’s the interim belt. We’re going to fight for the real one coming up. So I don’t think too much into it. When I have my chance to fight, we’ll fight for the real one.
“That’s how I view it,” Velasquez added, “because it’s the interim belt. Interim belt, interim champion. Not the champion.”
Although many people agree with the need to strip champions of belts, if they can’t fight for prolonger periods of time, at the end of the day, said fighter didn’t in fact lose the belt. Thus, it’s not surprising to read Velasquez’s comments above. Barring another significant setback, of course Velasquez would return to a title shot if he were to have the belt stripped.
At any rate, hopefully Velasquez’s recovery remains on track and the renowned fighter will be ready to face either Werdum or Hunt next spring. Either match-up will make for a big fight, but you know there will be a lot more buzz if it’s Hunt fighting for the opportunity to become undisputed champ.
UFC 180 will be hosted by the Mexico City Arena and will be broadcast on pay-per-view.