Well, surprise, surprise … Colby Covington will, in fact, not be challenging for the UFC welterweight championship in his next fight. UFC announced on Tuesday that the former interim 170-pound champion will return to the Octagon to take on ex-welterweight king Robbie Lawler in the main event of the UFC Fight Night event in Newark, New Jersey, on Aug. 3. The brash Covington has long been lobbying to be first in line to challenge new welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, but the reigning champ has been dealing with injuries and is aiming to return at some point later this year to defend the title he took from Tyron Woodley in March. News of the Covington vs. Lawler matchup was first reported by Brett Okamoto of ESPN.
Covington (14-1) has not competed inside the cage since his UFC 225 victory over the legendary Rafael dos Anjos in June 2018 in which he became the interim champion at the time. Due to inactivity, Covington was stripped of his interim status, though he’s continued to set his sights on the undisputed 170-pound title. This summer he’ll now be forced to prove his worth that much more as he takes on one of the most dangerous fighters the sport has ever seen.
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Lawler (28-13) has lost three of his last four UFC fights dating back to his championship loss to Woodley at UFC 201 in July 2016. The most recent defeat was met with some controversy, though, as he welcomed undefeated veteran Ben Askren to the promotion at UFC 235 in March. Lawler looked well on his way to a brutalizing TKO victory in the first round but was caught in a bulldog choke by the grappling expert, leading to a controversial technical submission stoppage in which the referee deemed Lawler unconscious.
This Covington-Lawler showdown in August will only further the discussion as to who truly deserves the shot at Usman when he does return from injury, with an assumption currently existing that the victor of Askren vs. Jorge Masvidal on July 6 at UFC 239 is serving as a title eliminator.
In addition to Covington vs. Lawler, the UFC Newark card on Aug. 3 inside the Prudential Center will feature light heavyweights Volkan Oezdemir and Ilir Latifi squaring off as well as what should be an entertaining lightweight clash between veterans Clay Guida and Jim Miller.
More UFC news, rumors
- Despite leading everyone to believe that his accomplished MMA career was soon coming to a close, Jose Aldo will be sticking around UFC for much longer. The ex-featherweight champion, who held the 145-pound title for four years from 2011-15, and his manager confirmed to ESPN that he signed a new eight-fight deal with the promotion just prior to his UFC 237 unanimous decision loss to rising star Alexander Volkanovski in May. With eight fights now on the horizon, could Aldo (28-5) maybe try his hand at lightweight as he’s alluded to in the past?
- Former UFC champions Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez are set for their second appearances in the ONE Championship promotion. ONE announced on Tuesday that both will be competing on the ONE: Dawn of Heroes card on Aug. 2, with Johnson (28-3) taking on Tatsumitsa Wada in flyweight World Grand Prix semifinal bout while Alvarez (29-7) battles ex-ONE lightweight champ Eduard Folayang. Both former UFC flyweight champion Johnson and former UFC lightweight champion Alvarez made their ONE debuts back on March 31 — with vastly different results. Johnson earned a second-round submission victory, but Alvarez was viciously knocked out in the first round.