Colby Covington was theoretically at the front of the line to face new UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, but there’s been a change of plans.
The former interim welterweight titleholder will instead face ex-champion Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC on ESPN: Newark on August 3rd. It’s scheduled to be Covington’s first bout inside the Octagon since winning the interim belt vs. Rafael dos Anjos last June, only to be stripped of it when he was unable to face then-champion Tyron Woodley later that September.
In an interview with The Score’s James Lynch, Covington’s manager and coach Dan Lambert revealed what transpired that turned an Usman vs. Covington fight for UFC 244 in November to Covington vs. Lawler in August.
“I actually had lunch with Colby a few days ago and he was confirming that the November 2 fight was still on and wanted to make sure everything was a go and I told him it was a go,” said Lambert (via Sherdog). “It was promised, it was what we were told would happen.”
This seems like another example of UFC promises being more apt for a Naked Eyes song than something to actually count on.
The aforementioned UFC Newark card, originally scheduled for a European city, ended up in the United States and in need of a main event just a few weeks away from fight night. That’s when the UFC apparently came calling on “Chaos” to step in on short-ish notice.
“But the only caveat was I knew that they were anxious to fill a void on an Aug. 3 show. It’s a big ESPN show. I knew that some of the main events they were targeting did not come through. So, I had a feeling that he might be getting a phone call, and that call came last night. And sometimes they make an offer you can’t refuse, or maybe a demand you can’t refuse,” Lambert said.
It stands to reason that Covington could still get Usman if he beats Lawler, and perhaps remain targeted for that Madison Square Garden event in November as originally expected. That said, Lambert is not hiding the fact that he’s not pleased his fighter isn’t challenging for a belt in his next outing.
“It’s not really disappointment in the opponent, it’s just disappointment that it’s not for a title. Colby wanted the belt. He didn’t care who had it. So, it is what it is. That’s the fight that was put on him, and that’s the fight that he’s gonna take.”
UFC on ESPN: Covington vs. Lawler has a special early main card start time of 3 PM ET/12 PM PT.
About the author