This weekend at UFC 261, the welterweight title is on the line. The champion Kamaru Usman (18-1) is set to defend his title against Jorge Masvidal (35-14). This is a rematch from a fight that happened last year. That matchup took place at UFC 251 on Fight Island.
When 2020 started, the UFC was trying to put together the title fight between Usman and Masvidal. However, due to failed financial negotiations, the fight never came together. Instead, the UFC had Gilbert Burns step in to face Usman on Fight Island.
A week before the fight, Burns tested positive for COVID. With Burns having tested positive, the UFC went back to Masvidal on short notice. Usman would go on to defeat Masvidal by decision, but there have been a lot of questions around that matchup due to the short notice nature.
When 2021 started, the UFC was trying to book Masvidal against Colby Covington (16-2). Covington is the top ranked contender in the welterweight division and only Usman has defeated him over the last few years. There is bad blood between Covington and Masvidal which is why the promotion was pushing for the fight.
However, after Kamaru Usman called for the fight with Masvidal to be ran back, the UFC shifted gears. They abandoned the Covington fight and booked the rematch between Usman and Masvidal. While Covington was left without a dance partner, that will not be the case for long per Dana White.
UFC title shot for Covington
This week, Dana White told TSN that Colby Covington would be facing the winner of the UFC 261 title fight between Usman and Masvidal. Both fights make perfect sense for Colby Covington. He’s got bad blood with Masvidal and a rematch with Usman would be massive.
Usman and Covington fought back at UFC 245. It was one of the fights of the year in 2019. The fight was an instant classic and Usman won by fifth round TKO. Since that win, Covington got a win over Tyron Woodley while Usman has defeated Masvidal and Gilbert Burns.
Colby Covington had previously said that he would be preparing to be the backup for this weekend’s main event. However, we now know that the UFC is planning on him getting the next title shot. So, instead of Covington preparing to fight this weekend, he can prepare to study his next opponent.