Former welterweight champion Colby Covington will be fighting on Saturday but a title isn’t on the line. So whatever happened to it?
Colby Covington was next in line to fight then-champion, Tyron Woodley, after claiming the interim welterweight title from former lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos, at UFC 225, but then all of a sudden, he wasn’t.
The UFC was scheduled to book the highly-anticipated title fight at UFC 228 in Dallas, TX, but nasal surgery forced Covington out of the bout. Therefore, the promotion decided to book Woodley against Darren Till instead, resulting in an uproar of controversy between the fans and Covington himself. In the midst of the chaos, Covington was stripped of his interim title, despite him needing to have surgery and never losing the belt in a fight. White has kept the same opinion about Covington ever since the fight fell through.
“When opportunity is there, answer the door, take it,” White told BloodyElbow after UFC 235. ”If you don’t, it’s going to take you longer to get back to that belt. I liked the fight that Usman had, Usman was ready to fight anybody and he’s getting the shot.”
Covington, on the other hand, has made his stance relatively clear between him and his boss regarding his lost belt. In March, Covington went live on his Instagram account ahead of UFC 235, which featured Woodley and top-contender, Kamaru Usman, for the title.
“All he could say is, ‘You’ve got to accept the fights.’ Dude, I’ve accepted every single fight you’ve given me. Just tell the people the real reason this is going on. This is corruption, and it needs to stop,” Covington said in an interview with MMAFighting after the incident.
From the video, Covington was noticeably upset when he entered The Palms, a Las Vegas casino, confronting White over his decision to not book Woodley vs. Covington.
Watch the video of the exchange here.
“I mean, we’re not friends. But that’s the thing: We’re doing business,” Covington told MMAJunkie in a radio show interview. “We’re not supposed to be friends. We’re doing business, we’re making money. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. I would say it was a pretty productive meeting.”
After the video was released, White downplayed the situation between Covington and him.
“Last night, it wasn’t as bad as it looked on video,” White told MMAJunkie at a news conference shortly after.
Covington is the No. 2 contender in the UFC’s welterweight rankings. With a win on Saturday against the former welterweight champion, Robbie Lawler, Covington is expected to ‘earn back’ a title shot, according to White himself.
“Covington is next in line,” White told MMAJunkie after UFC 240. “He stepped up and took the Lawler fight. He’ll get [the title fight].”
UFC Newark takes place on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your live results and highlights.