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5 interim UFC champions who failed to unify the titles

Dustin Poirier

The UFC is all set to crown its latest interim champion in August, as Ciryl Gane faces Derrick Lewis at UFC 265 with the interim UFC heavyweight title on the line.

The UFC has crowned plenty of interim champions over the years in almost all of its divisions, but not all of them have been successful.

Many of them have failed in their attempt to unify their interim title with the full championship by losing to the incumbent champion in a unification bout.

With that in mind, here are five interim UFC champions who failed to unify the titles.


#5 Frank Mir – interim UFC heavyweight champion

Brock Lesnar ended Frank Mir
Brock Lesnar ended Frank Mir’s hopes of unifying the UFC heavyweight titles in 2009

The situation around the UFC heavyweight title in 2007 and 2008 was definitely a strange one. It began when champion Randy Couture abruptly decided to walk away from the UFC in December 2007 following a clash with UFC management.

Concerned about a potential lawsuit, the promotion couldn’t strip him of his title outright – and so they crowned an interim UFC heavyweight champion in Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who defeated Tim Sylvia.

Couture returned a year later and promptly lost his title to Brock Lesnar. By that point, the UFC had used a series of TUF to build a fight between Nogueira and Frank Mir for the interim title.

And so the promotion chose to roll with that, and were probably glad they did when Mir knocked out Nogueira to become the new interim champion.

Why were they so happy? Because Mir’s win allowed them to set up a rematch between him and Lesnar with the undisputed UFC heavyweight title on the line. The fight would headline UFC 100 and was quickly built as one of the biggest in MMA history.

However, when it came to the fight, Mir couldn’t repeat the victory he’d claimed over Lesnar at UFC 81. Instead, he succumbed to a second round TKO – meaning he failed to unify the titles and walked away a beaten man.

Edited by Jack Cunningham


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