According to Gary Herman of CBSSports.com, 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: