SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 2/23: Holloway-Poirier interim title fight set for UFC 236

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Dec 8, 2018; Toronto, ON, Canada; Max Holloway (red gloves) celebrates after beating Brian Ortega (blue gloves) during UFC 231 at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

All interim, all the time

UFC’s going all in on the interim title thing for UFC 236. For the first time, a UFC pay-per-view event will feature two interim title fights.

In addition to the previously booked Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum interim middleweight title fight, an interim lightweight title fight between current UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier has been added to the card. Brett Okamoto at ESPN was the first to report the news.

The interim lightweight title fight comes while current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov serves his suspension that is set to be up in October. Nurmagomedov has the ability to have his suspension reduced by three months if he records an anti-bullying PSA for the Nevada Athletic Commission, but he has refused.

UFC last crowned an interim lightweight champion in October 2017 when Tony Ferguson defeated Kevin Lee. Ferguson was stripped of that title six-months later when he was injured shortly before his planned UFC 223 main event against Khabib Nurmagmedov.

The booking also comes soon after news that Nurmagomedov was in talks to fight Georges St-Pierre. St-Pierre retired when the fight couldn’t be made, saying UFC was not on board.

Poirier had become so frustrated that he requested his release from UFC earlier in the week. The interim title opportunity seems to have caused a change of heart.

UFC 236 takes place on April 13 from Atlanta.

Saturday Notebook

Jon Jones told MMAJunkie that he still plans to fight three to four times this year. “I keep arguing with myself whether I’m going to go once a quarter or just three times this year,” he said. “My goal is to be active. Usually my feet hurt after fights because I’m a heavy kicker. Hopefully I’ll be able to get right back to training and just stay active. That’s my goal.”

-Dominick Cruz called TJ Dillashaw “weak-minded” on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. He also said that Dillashaw’s performance against Henry Cejudo was sad.

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