Colby Covington could solidify his position as the next contender in line for the UFC welterweight title with a win this weekend over Robbie Lawler, but that also puts him one step closer to a potential showdown against good friend and teammate Jorge Masvidal.
As a former interim champion currently riding a six-fight win streak, Covington has already made his case for a title shot, but he ended up accepting a bout against Lawler in the main event of UFC on ESPN 5 in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday night.
Though Covington has been promised that a victory will secure him a shot at reigning champion Kamaru Usman, Masvidal has made the same claim coming off his stunning five-second knockout over Ben Askren at UFC 239.
The last thing Covington wants is to face his friend inside the Octagon. Still, he understands that if they both keep winning, it’s inevitable that clash will happen.
“At the end of the day, this is a business and it’s a one-man sport. We both know that,” Covington told MMA Fighting. “We both want the same thing and that’s what I’ve got right now so if he wants to come get it, he knows what’s ahead of him. He knows in the back of his mind how many times we’ve trained together, spent countless hours at American Top Team, fighting in living rooms. You can go check that out on the internet, it’s everywhere.
“We fight every chance we get and we never got paid so a fight like this for the undisputed strap, it will be a seven-figure payday for both of us. We’ll both get up for it and I’ll do what I do best and that’s win. That’s why I’m the great American winning machine.”
The friendship between Covington and Masvidal might make a fight between them awkward, but the bigger problem is that they train alongside each other at the main American Top Team facility in Coconut Creek, Florida.
Both Covington and Masvidal have trained at the facility for several years so it’s unlikely either of them would want to step away even for the sake of a title fight.
For his part, Covington promises he would have no problem with that situation if it happened, but he doesn’t believe for a second that Masvidal’s management team would allow it.
“Honestly, I could definitely train with him the whole training camp and help him and just to get ready for me,” Covington said. “I’ll show him my wrestling, he knows all my stuff and I know all his stuff. I wouldn’t have a problem with it but I think him and his management, the Kawa’s, the scum Kawa brothers [Malki and Abraham] would have a problem with it. Those guys are the shadiest in the business and they’ve tried to turn him against me.
“I wouldn’t have a problem with it but I think he would have a problem with it. He needs to make fights personal to go out there and if he needs to make this personal just for one fight and we do business then we become friends the next day, I understand that because this is the fight business.”
While Covington wants to avoid that friction with Masvidal, he is hoping to side step that matchup for a little while longer as he targets Usman for his next fight if he gets past Lawler this weekend.
Covington wants to fight Lawler and then make a quick turn around to face Usman at the upcoming UFC 244 card scheduled to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York in November.
“I’ll go fight Usman in the booth if I have to,” Covington said. “I get sick of seeing his stupid ass mug on TV, that fake smile and that fake lisp and that one lazy eye that he’s got.
“So after I beat Robbie Lawler on Aug. 3, I’ll be excited to fight at [Madison Square Garden] in November.”