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Dana White declares Colby Covington is next in line for title shot at welterweight

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Colby Covington will be keeping a close eye on the UFC 261 main event between welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal because he’s expected to face the winner.

That’s according to UFC president Dana White, who confirmed that Covington would be next in line for a title shot against the last man standing in the Usman vs. Masvidal fight on Saturday night from Jacksonville, Fla.

Covington previously lost to Usman in 2019 when he suffered a fifth-round knockout loss that also ended with his jaw being broken. Despite that setback, Covington and Usman shared Fight of the Night honors and since that time the former interim champion earned a finish against Tyron Woodley to put him back into title contention.

Because Usman has already dispatched so many competitors in the division, he’s coming back around to some rematches starting with Masvidal this weekend and a win would have him then staring down Covington for a second time.

“He’s at a point in his career now where he’s looking at who’s next again,” White said about Usman when speaking to TSN in Canada. “He’s coming back and going to be facing guys that he already beat. Obviously, Masvidal took that fight on short notice so let’s give him this fight and we can do away with all the excuses. Then, Colby Covington’s next.

“Who knows. Anything can happen. Guys get injured, things happen, timing. Who knows, especially in this day and age but that should be the fight [with Colby Covington] that happens next.”

Covington had been calling for the rematch against Usman ever since the first fight ended when he complained about the stoppage from referee Marc Goddard.

While it seems difficult to argue with the result considering Covington’s jaw was broken, he has continued to ask for another shot at Usman and he might just get his wish.

Of course, Usman still has to get through Masvidal but assuming he’s successful White sees all roads leading to a rematch with Covington, which could further solidify his status as arguably the greatest welterweight of all time.

“I just think that if you look at what this guy’s done, every time he fights, he looks better and better,” White said when touting Usman’s credentials. “He’s literally fought everybody out there. Now he’s going for a second run on these guys and the fight with him and Colby Covington’s one of the best fights I’ve ever seen.

“The division is stacked with killers right now. The fight with him and Colby Covington, love him or hate him or whatever your deal is with him, is one of the best fighters in the world. Very, very good fighter and that fight was incredible. Both guys had to dig deep. It’s one of the best fights I’ve ever seen. Ever.”

If Masvidal were victorious, he also has some unfinished business with Covington after they trained together for several years out of American Top Team in Florida. A falling out between them led to an intense rivalry that has never been settled so either way the UFC would have a highly marketable title fight after Saturday’s event is finished.

For the time being, Covington will just watch and wait as he anticipates facing the winner in his next fight.