The fight is a grudge match a long time in the making. The pair started out as sparring partners at American Top Team; Woodley hired Covington to help him prepare for several UFC bouts. As Covington forged his own path in the UFC, he turned heel and attacked Woodley, who rose to the title in 2016. The two were scheduled to fight at UFC 228, but a nasal surgery forced Covington to withdraw. Several subsequent dates fell apart behind the scenes, and Woodley subsequently lost the title. Covington eventually fought his way to the belt and lost to the man who took it away from Woodley, current champ Kamaru Usman. Covington hasn’t fought since a failed bid for the belt, while Woodley needs to prove he’s still a viable contender after another lackluster performance and loss to current title challenger Gilbert Burns.