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Dana White officially announces Nogueira vs. Sylvia for interim heavyweight title

According to Gary Herman of, UFC president Dana White officially announced following UFC 79 that Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will be fighting each other on February 2 at UFC 81 in Las Vegas for the interim UFC heavyweight title:

“Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Tim Sylvia will face off on Feb. 2 for the UFC interim championship,” UFC president Dana White said.

The announcement means that Randy Couture is still currently the UFC heavyweight champion, but it is being speculated that the UFC has not stripped him of the title per the advice of their lawyers. It is believed that there’s a champion clause in Couture’s contract that keeps him bound to the UFC as long as he’s the title holder.

White said during the post-fight press conference that he disagrees with Couture’s recent assessment that he will be free to fight Fedor Emelianenko in October. He was quoted by Herman as saying that Couture either needs to retire or fulfill his contract. If Couture retires, it’s also believed that the term on his UFC contract will freeze.

In Herman’s article, White is quoted as saying he still has plans for Couture:


  • Evan says:

    This is going to get ugly.

  • Murphspeak says:

    The shortest distance to Couture’s belt is Sylvia v. Gonzaga. I don’t understand the progression to or from the belt. The issue is ranking fighters. Always the most controversial aspect of athletics. Who decides what matters in ranking?
    Either way, what a precipitous fall for Gonzaga!

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    White and UFC are playing this correctly. They’re still making money without Couture and Fedor. Couture isn’t making money, at least from fighting, and time is against him due to his age. Fedor is going to turn himself into a joke with fights like the one with Choi. Meanwhile, the fight between Sylvia and Noguiera should be a good one. Sylvia has had to make comebacks before, and risen to the occasion. Let’s see if his ground game is ready.

  • Rich says:

    I haven’t seen Tim’s ground game in a while… but i do remember his ground game against Munson and Couture… The only reason he beat munson on the ground was because munsons a few inches off being a midget… and we know how his ground game was against Couture… that’s just painful to remember… except for me… because i personally hate Tim… the only way he could beat noguiera would be if he fought him the way he fought Arlovski the second third time, or the way he fought Vera… and that would to do exactly what he has to do not the lose… nothing more. he doesn’t try to finish fights. he’s happy with decisions… as long as he gets/keeps his belt… or he could just get lucky w/ a punch… and yes, although he’s known for his striking a ko would be luck. sylvia’s way too conservative and he doesn’t let his hands go… that’s why we shouldn’t be seeing a ko in this one… on his side. noguiera should submit him or get a decision… actually, noguiera doesn’t have bad striking himself.


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