ByKel Dansby, writer at
Kel Dansby

As interim featherweight champion Max Holloway prepares to challenge current undisputed champion (or so we are told) Jose Aldo at UFC 212, it's time to take a look at the long history of successful interim champions.

Many of the sports' best fighters have used the interim belt as a springboard to long-lasting success. Look no further than , who needed just 13 seconds to shockingly starch Aldo.

Whether it's 's knockout victory over Chuck Liddell, Georges St-Pierre's victory over Matt Hughes, or the aforementioned McGregor KO of , stars have been made or redeemed in interim title fights.

On June 3, looks to become the latest interim champion to take the giant leap into MMA stardom when he faces Aldo, a fighter who claimed an interim title of his own at .

Here's the complete list of UFC interim champions:

Randy Couture

  • Interim Title Opponent: Chuck Liddell (UFC 43)
  • Unification Opponent: Tito Ortiz (UFC 44)
  • Outcome: Unanimous decision victory
  • Record Since: 7-5

  • Interim Title Opponent: Tim Sylvia (UFC 51)
  • Unification Opponent: Justin Eilers (UFC 53)
  • Outcome: 1st Round TKO victory (Defended interim belt and was promoted to undisputed champ)
  • Record Since: 16-11-1

Georges St-Pierre

  • Interim Title Opponent: Matt Hughes (UFC 79)
  • Unification Opponent: Matt Serra (UFC 83)
  • Outcome: 2nd Round TKO victory
  • Record Since: 9-0

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

  • Interim Title Opponent: Tim Sylvia (UFC 81)
  • Unification Opponent: (UFC 92)
  • Outcome: 2nd Round TKO loss (Lost interim title)
  • Record Since: 3-5

Frank Mir

  • Interim Title Opponent: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (UFC 92)
  • Unification Opponent: Brock Lesnar (UFC 100)
  • Outcome: 2nd Round TKO loss
  • Record Since: 6-7

Shane Carwin

  • Interim Title Opponent: Frank Mir (UFC 111)
  • Unification Opponent: Brock Lesnar (UFC 116)
  • Outcome: 2nd Round submission loss
  • Record Since: 0-1

Carlos Condit

  • Interim Title Opponent: Nick Diaz (UFC 143)
  • Unification Opponent: (UFC 154)
  • Outcome: Unanimous decision loss
  • Record Since: 2-4

Renan Barao

  • Interim Title Opponent: Urijah Faber (UFC 149)
  • Unification Opponent: Eddie Wineland (UFC 165)
  • Outcome: 2nd Round TKO victory (Defended interim belt and was promoted to undisputed champ)
  • Record Since: 3-3

Fabricio Werdum

  • Interim Title Opponent: Mark Hunt (UFC 180)
  • Unification Opponent: Cain Velasquez (UFC 188)
  • Outcome: 3rd Round submission victory
  • Record Since: 1-1

Conor McGregor

  • Interim Title Opponent: Chad Mendes (UFC 189)
  • Unification Opponent: Jose Aldo (UFC 194)
  • Outcome: 1st Round KO victory
  • Record Since: 2-1

Jon Jones

  • Interim Title Opponent: Ovince Saint Preux (UFC 197)
  • Unification Opponent: Daniel Cormier
  • Outcome: Scheduled for UFC 214 (Stripped of interim title after UFC 197)
  • Record Since: 0-0

Jose Aldo

  • Interim Title Opponent: Frankie Edgar (UFC 200)
  • Unification Opponent: Max Holloway
  • Outcome: Scheduled for UFC 213 (Promoted to undisputed champ after UFC 206)
  • Record Since: 0-0

Max Holloway

  • Interim Title Opponent: Anthony Pettis (UFC 206)
  • Unification Opponent: Jose Aldo
  • Outcome: Scheduled for UFC 213
  • Record Since: 0-0

A wise man once said, "Men lie, women lie, numbers don't lie." In that spirit, let's dive into the stats and see what they say about Holloway's chances of defeating Aldo and where his career will go from there.

Interim champions are 6-4 in fights that result in them becoming the undisputed champion of their division, and after winning the interim belt, they have a total record of 47-38-1. That's roughly a 60% winning percentage in both regards, which is barely above average. The mediocrity of interim champions continues when you look at the fact that only four (McGregor, Couture, , and Arlovski) of an eligible ten of them had a winning record after gaining the interim title.

The one positive, every one of the interim champions has headlined a title fight after getting the honor, which is unsurprising given they've all received unification bouts. Also, aside from Barao and Condit, it's hard to find an interim champion on the list who won't qualify for the Hall-of-Fame after they hang up the gloves.

It's rare company where Holloway resides, but he will have to show that this is only the beginning of his reign atop the UFC's featherweight division and not the ceiling of his career.


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