What Is An Interim Champion?

Are you curious to know what is an interim champion? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about an interim champion in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is an interim champion?

In the thrilling world of combat sports, champions are revered for their skill, determination, and ability to dominate their respective divisions. However, there are instances where the champion’s ability to defend their title might be hindered due to various reasons. Enter the interim champion, a unique and important figure in combat sports who steps in to fill the void and maintain the excitement of competition. In this blog post, we’ll explore the role and significance of an interim champion, shedding light on their place within the world of combat sports.

What Is An Interim Champion?

An interim champion is a titleholder who is crowned in the absence of the reigning champion due to extenuating circumstances. These circumstances can include injuries, suspensions, contractual disputes, or any other factors that prevent the reigning champion from defending their title within a reasonable timeframe. The interim champion’s primary role is to maintain the flow of competition and keep the division active, ensuring that fans continue to witness high-stakes bouts and rivalries.

Responsibilities And Significance

  1. Maintaining Divisional Activity: One of the primary responsibilities of an interim champion is to keep the division active and competitive. Their presence ensures that other contenders within the division have opportunities to showcase their skills and earn their shot at the title.
  2. Serving as a Placeholder: The interim champion serves as a temporary placeholder until the reigning champion is ready to return and defend their title. This ensures that the division remains relevant and that the championship belt is contested regularly.
  3. Preserving Fan Interest: Interim champions play a crucial role in preserving fan interest and engagement. Fans look forward to high-profile title fights, and the interim champion ensures that these matchups continue to take place even when the reigning champion is unavailable.
  4. Earning Their Shot: For the interim champion, winning the title isn’t the end of the journey. They must continue to prove themselves by defending the interim title and solidifying their status as a legitimate contender within the division.

Notable Examples

Throughout the history of combat sports, there have been several memorable instances of interim champions making their mark:

  1. Tony Ferguson (UFC): Ferguson won the interim UFC Lightweight Championship in 2017 when the reigning champion was unable to defend the title. His victory solidified his status as a top contender in the division.
  2. Robert Whittaker (UFC): Whittaker became the interim UFC Middleweight Champion in 2017 and later unified the title by defeating the reigning champion, demonstrating the importance of the interim title in determining the true divisional leader.
  3. Juan Manuel Marquez (Boxing): Marquez won the interim WBO Lightweight Championship in 2008 before going on to capture full championship titles in different weight classes, showcasing the interim title as a stepping stone to greater achievements.


In the dynamic realm of combat sports, the interim champion plays a vital role in maintaining divisional activity, preserving fan interest, and providing a platform for contenders to showcase their skills. While their status may be temporary, the interim champion’s influence and significance extend far beyond their tenure. Their journey represents the resilience and determination of athletes who rise to the occasion, ensuring that the spirit of competition remains alive and thriving even in the absence of the reigning champion.

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What Is Interim Champion In Ufc?

Once a champion is injured or unable to defend his belt for whatever reason, the UFC will put an interim titleholder into place, which is essentially just a fighter guaranteed to be next in line for a shot at undisputed gold.

What Is The Difference Between Interim Champion And Champion?

If the current champion is unavailable for fights (PEDs, injury, “taking a break,” etc), the UFC will open an “interim” belt. That means, in the interim, the time between the real champ being able to fight, we can still have a belt. This IS NOT a real belt. It’s a place-holder.

Why Is Rodriguez Interim Champ?

The Australian had won 21 consecutive bouts — including three against Max Holloway — before moving up in weight to take on his Dagestani opponent. Rodriguez claimed the interim belt with a second-round triangle choke submission over Josh Emmett at UFC 284 in February. He has won three of his last four fights.

Was Conor An Interim Champion?

McGregor won the fight via TKO, winning the UFC Interim Featherweight Championship.

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