The UFC 176 main event between featherweight champion Jose Aldo and challenger Chad Mendes is expected to be rescheduled for mid-October, as per Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports.
However, if Aldo still isn't fully healed and ready to roll by then, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said somebody else might step up to fight Mendes for the chance at an interim featherweight strap.
MMAFighting's Shaun Al-Shatti relayed Fertitta's news, tweeting:
Fertitta says that either Frankie Edgar or Cub Swanson could step up for an interim title bout versus Mendes if Aldo can't go in October.— Shaun Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) July 9, 2014
Looking at the Top Five of the UFC's 145-pound division, this makes sense.
Cub Swanson is ranked No. 3 in the class, most recently besting Jeremy Stephens in a five-round tilt at UFC Fight Night 44 in San Antonio. The win was Swanson's sixth straight, with four of those coming via knockout, and he looks more comfortable and confident each time he steps into the cage.
Frankie Edgar, meanwhile, is coming off a third-round TKO of BJ Penn at The Ultimate Fighter 19 finale. The New Jersey native thoroughly dominated that bout, looking crisp and hungry as he devoured the aging legend with ease.
With the victory—his second straight—Edgar jumped to No. 2 in the UFC's featherweight rankings, skipping over Swanson in the process.
Aldo most recently defended the featherweight title in February, defeating Ricardo Lamas via unanimous decision at UFC 169.
If the interim title fight materializes, who would you rather see face Mendes?
This eight-month stretch to October is not an outrageously long time frame for the championship to remain idle. For comparison, the lightweight title has lain dormant since August 2013 and is not expected to be defended until January 2015. Similarly, the heavyweight title will have gone undefended for over a year when Cain Velasquez takes on challenger Fabricio Werdum at UFC 180 in November.
Still, fans will undoubtedly be pleased that the UFC brass is attempting to keep things rolling at 145 pounds by crowning an interim champ, and nobody will complain about a Mendes vs. Swanson or Mendes vs. Edgar showdown while Aldo heals up and plots his return.
Stay tuned to Bleacher Report as more news regarding the featherweight title picture emerges.