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Dana White: Colby Covington backup plans weren’t meant to be secret, but ‘he’s right there’ in title contention

Colby Covington may have shocked a lot of the MMA community by weighing in as the backup fighter for Saturday’s UFC 286 main event between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman, but UFC President Dana White doesn’t really understand why.

At Friday’s official weigh-ins, Covington stepped on the scale for the first time in more than a year and hit the mark at 170 pounds in case his services are needed for the welterweight title bout. When asked about Covington weighing in, White said even his own son was thrown off by the former interim champion serving as the backup fighter.

“I didn’t even know it was a secret,” White told reporters following the UFC 286 ceremonial weigh-ins. “We’re just doing what we do, and I’m not really aware of what [the media] knows and what [they] don’t know until it happens. It wasn’t anything that was being kept a secret. We have a backup for every fight. It’s just never a big deal. Nobody really ever asks, ‘Well, who is the backup for this fight?’ It’s not anything that we really promote.

“It never gets as much attention as Colby did today.”

Covington hasn’t competed since his unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 272 in March 2022.

In the days following the fight, Covington was allegedly attacked by Masvidal outside of a restaurant in Miami Beach, Fla. — a situation that still hasn’t been fully resolved.

For nearly a year, White has been saying that Covington has been ready to return but certain matchups didn’t line up. While his appearance in London led to speculation about “Chaos” facing the winner of Saturday’s trilogy bout between Edwards and Usman, White said things are still very much up in the air.

“That, I don’t know,” White said of Covington being next in line for the title. “He stepped up for this thing, and he’s obviously one of the best in the world, but yeah, he’s right there.”

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