Did we really need an interim UFC Heavyweight Champion?

August 4, 2021

As a MMA nerd, I’m looking forward to the UFC heavyweight fight between Cyril Gane and Derrick Lewis, but I couldn’t help but ask if this really needed to be an interim championship instead of scheduling a regular heavyweight title defense.

After all, Francis Ngannou just won the belt on March 27, 2021, and Gane/Lewis is scheduled for a mere 133 days later.

A quick dive into the data, looking back at the scheduling of heavyweight title fights since 2010, confirms this.

  • The average time between heavyweight title fights since 2010 was 233 days, or just under 8 months. And the average of time between the last 3 heavyweight title defenses was a whopping 291 days!
  • The time between heavyweight defenses has only been less than 133 days 3 times since 2010.
  • The shortest time between defenses turnaround was between Brock Lesnar’s win over Shane Carwin in 2010, and his subsequent loss 112 days later to Cain Velasquez.

In short, we could have just had a regular heavyweight title defense sometime in the next few months, and we’d still have been right on schedule.

Heavyweight Title Fights Since 2010

Date Since Previous
Brock Lesnar Shane Carwin 7/3/10
Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez 10/23/10 112 days
Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos 11/12/11 385 days
Junior Dos Santos Frank Mir 5/26/12 196 days
Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez 12/29/12 217 days
Cain Velasquez Antonio Silva 5/25/13 147 days
Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos 10/19/13 147 days
Cain Velasquez Fabricio Werdum 6/13/15 602 days
Fabricio Werdum Stipe Miocic 5/14/16 336 days
Stipe Miocic Alistair Overeem 9/10/16 119 days
Stipe Miocic Junior Dos Santos 5/13/17 245 days
Stipe Miocic Francis Ngannou 1/20/18 252 days
Stipe Miocic Daniel Cormier 7/7/18 168 days
Daniel Cormier Derrick Lewis 11/3/18 119 days
Daniel Cormier Stipe Miocic 8/17/19 287 days
Stipe Miocic Daniel Cormier 8/15/20 364 days
Stipe Miocic Francis Ngannou 3/27/21 224 days