Colby Covington is finally getting his shot at the undisputed UFC welterweight title.
While no date or location has been determined at this time, UFC president Dana White confirmed on Tuesday night that Covington’s lopsided win over former champion Robbie Lawler sealed the deal on a fight against Kamaru Usman later this year.
“That’s why I put Covington on ESPN against a guy like Lawler,” White said when asked if Covington was assured the next shot at the welterweight title when speaking to reporters following the Contender Series on Tuesday. “You can say whatever you want about Covington, you don’t like him, you don’t this, that, or whatever — he put on a clinic against Lawler, who is a beast. Lawler’s been in all the big fights, former world champion, hits like a truck and Colby completely shut him down.
“His cardio was impressive and the way that he beat Lawler was even more impressive.”
Covington previously held the UFC interim welterweight title just over a year ago but was then stripped of the belt when he was unable to face then champion Tyron Woodley three months after a five round battle against Rafael dos Anjos.
He then sat out for over a year waiting for a chance to fight for the title but Covington ultimately ended up accepting a showdown with Lawler this past Saturday in Newark, N.J.
Now Covington will get his chance to face Usman, who became welterweight champion back in March when he thumped Woodley over five rounds. Afterwards, Usman had double hernia surgery, which has put him out of action until the latter part of 2019.
White could only add “we’ll see” when asked if there’s a possibility that the welterweight title fight makes its way to UFC 244 in November at Madison Square Garden in New York.
With Usman vs. Covington now confirmed, that leaves Jorge Masvidal waiting in the wings.
Fresh off two knockouts in a row — including the fastest finish in UFC history when he bombed Ben Askren in just five seconds — Masvidal called for a title shot or a fight against UFC superstar Conor McGregor as the only two options that interested him.
White has previously stated he didn’t like the McGregor fight for Masvidal and he’s not getting a title shot right away with Covington now expected to face Usman before the end of the year.
That means Masvidal will get a new opponent offered to him but White isn’t going to cater to his demands for a title shot or McGregor as the only options he’ll accept.
“You can’t make ultimatums,” White said about Masvidal. “Listen, we’re going to offer him a fight, and if he accepts the fight, he does and if he doesn’t, he doesn’t.”