The moment Jose Aldo dropped out of his long-awaited featherweight title bout with Conor McGregor at UFC 189 in July, the UFC had to find a way to salvage what was left of the situation.
McGregor agreed to stay on. Check.
He also agreed to take on take on Chad Mendes on two-week’s notice. Check.
Not quite the levels we associated with Aldo-McGregor, but Mendes-McGregor was still a relatively exciting matchup. But how do you make it more exciting? Simple, add a strap of gold. And so the UFC created an interim title match in the wake of the actual one.
Only, to quite a few people, Aldo wasn’t out long enough to warrant the creation of an interim title. For as thrilled as Mendes may have been with his victory over McGregor in July, he acknowledged those sentiments, calling it a “fake belt.” As he nears his potential match with Frankie Edgar on Dec. 11, he thinks the victor should get a shot at the belt. The real one.
“I feel like the winner of this fight should be right back in line for it, whether it’s me or Frankie,” Mendes told MMAFighting. “Obviously I’ve fought Aldo twice, and Conor for the fake belt. But if you beat a guy like Frankie who’s been just on a tear, then you have no choice but to give the guy who wins that fight a title shot, in my opinion.”
Edgar and Mendes square off on Dec. 11, while Aldo and McGregor finally meet on Dec. 12 to unify the featherweight and interim featherweight titles.