Vaccine mandates in NYC could alter the plans for UFC 268

UFC, Dana White

UFC 268 is supposed to be a massive event for the promotion. The promotion is targeting a return to Madison Square Garden for the event and they are bringing incredible fights to New York for that event.

Headlining UFC 268 is the rematch between Kamaru Usman (19-1) and Colby Covington (16-2). In addition, UFC 268 will play host to the return of Luke Rockhold as he takes on Sean Strickland. 

However, arguably the most anticipated matchup that’s been announced is the co-main event. The UFC has booked Michael Chandler (22-6) against Justin Gaethje (22-3). This is a dream fight for most fans and were supposed to see it in November.

However, a new mandate in New York City might jeopardize that fight. Michael Chandler had an Instagram Live session yesterday (from MMA Junkie) where he was very open and honest about the fact that he will not be vaccinated come the November.

Chandler said that he was not anti-vax and that he would consider taking the vaccine once it’s FDA approved. I can assure you that Chandler is not the only fighter in the UFC who is not vaccinated and I guarantee he’s not the only one on the card that won’t be.

New York City announced new mandates that requires vaccination proof to do just about anything indoors. With this new mandate coming down, the UFC 268 location might be in jeopardy.

UFC 268 Backup Plans

Dana White has always said that the UFC will never force their athletes to do anything. In regards to forcing vaccinations, White said to TSN, “I would never tell another human being what to do with their body. If you want to get vaccinated, that’s up to you. That’s your choice. You’re never going to hear me say I’m going to force people to get vaccinated. Never gonna happen.”

I can guarantee White isn’t going to change his position and I guarantee the UFC fighters who don’t want the vaccine will not get it. That said, this card is in a lot of trouble in terms of the location.

It’s worth noting that the location has not been announced for UFC 268. While it’s widely known that it’s supposed to take place at MSG, the promotion hasn’t officially announced anything yet.

Dana White has been operating through the fluid waters of this pandemic for well over a year. The UFC knows how to deal with situations like this and I can assure you that they’re already working on a new location. This will definitely be something to watch over the coming weeks.

UFC finalizes rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington

The UFC has finalized arguably the biggest rematch they can make right now. ESPN was the first to report today that the promotion had finalized the welterweight title rematch between Kamaru Usman (19-1) and Colby Covington (16-2).

The matchup is scheduled to headline UFC 268 which will take place on November 6th. The current plan is for UFC 268 to take place at Madison Square Garden, however, that is not finalized yet and with an ongoing pandemic, things can always change.

However, that is the plan as of now. The fight will be the second installment of this tremendous rivalry between the two best welterweights on the planet. Their first fight took place at UFC 245.

That night, we saw an absolute war between the two men. The fight was fought at a crazy pace and both men had a tremendous amount of success. Heading into the final round the scores were: 3-1 Covington, 2-2, 3-1 Usman.

The fight came down to the final round. In that final round, Kamaru Usman was able to get the stoppage win and retain his UFC welterweight title. The stoppage is something that Covington protests to this day.

UFC 268 at MSG

Now, nearly two years after their first fight, these two will run it back at MSG at UFC 268. Since the first fight, Covington has fought only once and that was last August against former champion Tyron Woodley.

Covington put a beating on Woodley and stopped him in the final frame. Kamaru Usman has successfully defended his title three times since their first fight including twice already in 2021.

It seems that Usman is getting better and better which each fight. His two title defenses this year really showed just how special Usman is. He stopped Gilbert Burns at UFC 258 then knocked out Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261.

Now, the world will get the rematch we’ve waited on. Colby Covington is always going to be the toughest fight for Kamaru Usman given his style. On the flip side, Kamaru Usman is always going to be an incredibly difficult fight for Colby Covington.

Make no mistake about it, these are the two best welterweights in the UFC. I’m very much looking forward to the rematch that we’ve been waiting for, for almost two years.

UFC: Colby Covington would welcome a fight with Dustin Poirier

UFC, Colby Covington

This past Saturday at UFC 264, Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC) picked up his second win over Conor McGregor (22-6). The fight ended after McGregor snapped his lower tibia at the end of the first round and couldn’t continue.

Regardless of what happened, it still goes in the book as a win for Poirier. Poirier’s former training partner and top welterweight contender Colby Covington (16-2) had some things to say about the fight and The Diamond as well.

Covington is currently waiting for the date for his rematch with Kamaru Usman (18-1) for the UFC welterweight title. That said, he already has his eyes on his personal rivalry with Poirier and he had some things to say.

In speaking with James Lynch, Covington called Poirier’s win at UFC 264 a fluke. In addition to that, Covington made it clear that he would love Poirier to come up to 170 pounds to fight him. He also made it clear that he doesn’t believe the fight would be competitive.

Would the UFC book this fight?

Covington told Lynch, “His (Poirier) best money opportunity if he wants to do good business is to come up to 170 and see daddy. This is a personal rivalry James… There is deep deep personal issues with this drama and I hope they get settled in the octagon some day. If they don’t then fans know who daddy is. They’ll know I’m really Parker’s daddy and I’m Jolie’s husband.”

When asked how the potential UFC matchup would go, Covington said, “I just see myself giving him a wedgie in the middle of the octagon and just slapping him all around the octagon. Throwing him from one side of the cage to the other until he quits.”

In reality, this is a matchup that could easily happen. Poirier has long talked about being interested in fighting at welterweight. Of course, Poirier is fighting for the UFC lightweight title next and Covington is fighting for the welterweight title next.

Perhaps if all works out, there could be a champion vs champion fight that could materialize between the two men. I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see Colby Covington fight Dustin Poirier eventually.

Could Nate Diaz be next for UFC champion Kamaru Usman?

I know that many eyebrows went up reading that title. Could the UFC actually give Nate Diaz (20-13) the next shot at the welterweight title. I can already imagine the confusion and the questions from UFC fans.

How in the world does Nate Diaz deserve a shot at Kamaru Usman (19-1)? Would the promotion actually give Diaz a shot over Colby Covington (16-2) and Leon Edwards (19-3, 1 NC)? Keep in mind, Edwards just dominated Diaz back at UFC 263 despite a last minute rally by Diaz.

Where is the speculation coming from? Well it all starts with the UFC welterweight champion’s manager Ali Abdelaziz. Abdelaziz has been vocal that he doesn’t want to see his client face top contender Colby Covington next.

The word from the Usman camp is that Covington hasn’t done enough to earn a title shot next. UFC president Dana White has been vocal that Colby Covington and nobody else is next for the welterweight champion.

So, where does Nate Diaz fit into all of this? Well, Diaz and Usman have had some back-and-forth on social media and the speculation of a future UFC title match between the two was fueled by Abdelaziz. Usman’s manager tweeted out that Diaz should be next over Colby Covington. 

Would the UFC give the shot to Diaz over Covington/Edwards?

If Nate Diaz would’ve defeated Leon Edwards at UFC 263, there’s a very high chance he would’ve jumped Colby Covington. Diaz is by far one of the biggest stars in the entire sport. When he fights, people watch and millions would want to see him fight for the title.

However, outside of general fan interest, there is no argument for Diaz deserving a UFC title shot. Regardless of what the Usman camp says, Colby Covington is the toughest fight for him at 170 pounds.

Heading into their fifth round at UFC 245, the fight couldn’t have been closer. One judge had Covington up three rounds to one so if they would’ve made it to the final bell, Usman would’ve only won a split decision.

Usman would definitely be the favorite, but Covington is a very tough fight for him. I’m a massive Nate Diaz fan, but if he gets the next title shot after back-to-back losses at welterweight to Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards, I would be at a loss for words.

The UFC should book Diaz in a rematch with Masvidal if they want a big fight. Covington – Usman is the fight to make and I really don’t think Dana White is going to entertain anything else at the moment.

After UFC 263, should Leon Edwards take another fight or wait for his title shot?

Leon Edwards

On the main card of UFC 263, we saw a welterweight showdown between Leon Edwards (19-3, 1 NC) and Nate Diaz (20-13). The fight between these two was the first five-round non-title fight that wasn’t a main event.

For the first 24 minutes of the fight at UFC 263, Leon Edwards showed why he’s so special. Edwards was able to use his leg kicks, elbows, and sweeps to completely dominate Nate Diaz. Diaz landed shots here and there, but it was all Leon Edwards.

However, with one minute left, the fight completely changed. Diaz fired a perfect 1-2 down the middle that completely rocked Leon Edwards. Edwards was on wobbly legs and needed the fence to stay up. Diaz tried to finish the fight and Edwards barely survived.

Edwards still looked a little dazed after the final bell at UFC 263. However, all of the work he had done over the first 24 minutes paid off. Leon Edwards won 49-46 on all three scorecards to pick up the biggest win of his career.

What does Leon Edwards do after UFC 263?

With this victory, Leon Edwards is now 9-0, 1 NC in his last ten fights. The last man to defeat him inside the octagon is the current UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman (19-1). Leon Edwards has done enough to earn himself a title shot against Usman.

However, he’s not going to be next for the champion. Dana White has made it very clear that Colby Covington (16-2) is getting the next shot at Kamaru Usman. At the moment, the promotion is targeting late summer/early fall for that rematch.

With that, it’s very likely that Leon Edwards wouldn’t get his UFC title shot until the beginning of 2022. So, should Edwards wait or should he take another fight? I personally lean towards him taking another fight and there’s one fight that he should take.

I think the promotion should book him against Jorge Masvidal (35-15). There’s heat between the two men after their backstage incident in 2019 and Masvidal just fought for the title. Leon Edwards didn’t really get over in his win at UFC 263. He could use a highlight reel performance against another star to help build up his stock before a title shot.

That said, Edwards has been very vocal about wanting the title shot next. He might need some convincing to take a fight with Masvidal, but ultimately, I think it would be the best thing for him.

Despite Leon Edwards’ win at UFC 263, Colby Covington still next for the title

This past Saturday on the main card of UFC 263, top welterweight contender Leon Edwards (19-3, 1 NC) took on Nate Diaz (20-13). The two men fought in the first non-title and non-main event five-round fight in UFC history.

Edwards put on an incredible performance for the majority of the fight. He used a steady diet of leg kicks, sweeps, and elbows to get the better of Nate Diaz. However, late in the fight, Diaz landed a shot that almost changed everything.

Through 24 minutes, Leon Edwards was dominant. Then, with a minute to go in the fight, Diaz landed a beautiful 1-2 that almost put Edwards out. Edwards looked out on his feet, but was able to survive the last sixty seconds. That shot lands at the beginning of the round at UFC 263 and Nate Diaz likely wins that fight.

However, Edwards survived and got the decision win. With that victory, Edwards is now 9-0, 1 NC in his last ten fights. The one No Contest was a fight he was dominating but ended due to an accidental eye poke to Belal Muhammad. It would’ve likely been another victory for Edwards.

Having gone on this impressive streak, Leon Edwards is wanting a UFC title shot. However, it doesn’t appear that he’s getting it next. Dana White reiterated after the event that Colby Covington (16-2) is next for Kamaru Usman (19-1). Covington also confirmed that with Submission Radio today. 

UFC booking the rematch between Usman and Covington

The UFC has never wavered in their plans for the welterweight title. After Kamaru Usman knocked out Jorge Masvidal, Dana White made it very clear that Colby Covington would be next. Many wondered if that would still be the case after UFC 263.

While the fight still isn’t booked, the UFC has reiterated to Covington and the public that Colby Covington is next. Kamaru Usman’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, tweeted out that Leon Edwards should be next given his current streak.

However, that is not what the UFC is pushing for. Usman and his manager have been vocal about the fact that Colby Covington doesn’t deserve another shot. That said, what hurts his argument is the fact that he gave Masvidal a rematch despite Masvidal staying inactive after Usman defeated him the first time.

At the moment, there appears to be no momentum in booking this fight. However, I think it’s going to come together rather quickly. If I had to guess, I think September or October is likely for the rematch between Usman and Covington. Yes, Leon Edwards is deserving, but it’s not the fight that should be made next.

UFC: Colby Covington says Kamaru Usman doing everything he can to avoid their rematch

When you think about the next UFC welterweight title fight, there is really only one fight that makes sense. There is one fight that needs to be made and that’s the fight that should be made.

That fight is the rematch between the champion Kamaru Usman (19-1) and the former interim champion Colby Covington (16-2). The two men previously fought back at UFC 245 and it was one of the best welterweight title fights of all time.

Personally, I had the fight 2-2 going into the final round. One judge had Covington up 3-1, one judge had Usman up 3-1, and the third judge had it tied at 2-2. The final round was going to decide the fight, but if it would’ve hit the cards, it would have been a split decision either way.

Ultimately, Usman dropped Covington at UFC 245 and the referee called a stop to the action and the stoppage was immediately protested by Covington. I can see both sides of the argument. It looked like a fair stoppage, but in the final round of a title fight, I’d like to have seen it go a bit longer.

Regardless, Kamaru Usman would’ve won at UFC 245 given his performance in the final round. Usman has since defended his title three times and Covington has a dominant win over Tyron Woodley. Dana White has said the rematch is next, but there’s been a delay in the process and we still don’t have a date for it.

What’s delaying the UFC in finalizing this rematch?

In speaking with Helen Yee Sports this week, Colby Covington has said that he’s told the UFC he’s ready to go whenever. Covington said, “There’s been an offer. Dana and Hunter Campbell know that I’ve agreed. I said, ‘Whenever you want. It doesn’t matter, I’m ready’.”

White has also hinted that Covington has been eager to getting this fight finalized. With that said, the delay is coming from Kamaru Usman’s camp. Why is this fight taking so long to come together? Well, I personally think there are a couple of factors.

There is a very strong hatred between Usman’s camp and Colby Covington. The UFC champion’s manager has said that Covington doesn’t deserve to fight for the title next. Usman was willing to fight Michael Chiesa next, but still hasn’t accepted the Covington rematch.

There’s also speculation that Usman is waiting for UFC 263. Next weekend, Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards will fight in a five-round fight. Whoever wins that will be squarely in the title picture. If Nate Diaz wins, that becomes a big money fight for the UFC champion.

Let me be clear, I don’t think Kamaru Usman is ducking Colby Covington. However, I do believe that he understands that Covington is by far his toughest fight at 170 pounds. Usman would be the favorite, but no matter how you slice it, it’s a very tough fight.

If he gets the chance to make a ton of money fighting Nate Diaz, I think he’d prefer doing that before fighting Covington again. However, I ultimately believe the UFC is going to force their hand in this one. No matter what happens next week, I fully expect Colby Covington to get the next title shot.

UFC: Colby Covington said defeating GSP would be ‘Extremely Easy’

UFC, Colby Covington

UFC fans all around the world constantly debate who would win if you paired up champions of today versus champions of yesterday. For example, what would happen if Israel Adesanya fought Anderson Silva when he was in his prime.

One of the fighters that constantly finds himself in those debates is former UFC middleweight and welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre (26-2). The former champion always finds himself in debates on who would win in pinning him against today’s champions.

A fun debate was always what would happen if a prime GSP took on Khabib Nurmagomedov. While GSP is certainly not in his prime, this is a fight that almost materialized and the UFC tried to make this fight recently.

However, Nurmagomedov is retired and it’s a fight we will never see. Another debate is around whether or not GSP could defeat Kamaru Usman. Could GSP’s style and skills compete with the elite welterweights of today?

Well, one of the best welterweights in the UFC certainly doesn’t think so. Colby Covington (16-2) said this week on the MMA Roasted Podcast that GSP would be light work and said there is no way that GSP could defeat him.

Who’d win in the UFC: GSP or Colby Covington?

Covington said of the former UFC champion, “I don’t think I could beat Georges St-Pierre. I know I’d beat St-Pierre. He was able to take a lot of guys down and hold them down and ground and pound. He’s not taking me down. My cardio is completely different. I’ve never been taken down in the UFC Octagon, so he’s not going to be the first.”

Covington continued, “His striking was very basic, very kindergarten. He didn’t have a lot of tricks. He just had that really good jab, but that’s pretty easy to counter if you’re moving your head and using footwork. I think Georges St-Pierre would have been a very, extremely easy fight for me.”

I will say this about what Covington is saying, GSP would definitely have to use more of his striking against today’s UFC welterweights. GSP really relied on taking his opponents down and controlling him during his dominant run.

I just don’t see him being able to take down Covington or Kamaru Usman. That said, I’m not sure they could take GSP down either which means it could become a striking matchup. With that, I do believe GSP could hang with either man.

Do I believe that GSP would be the dominant champion he was in today’s UFC world? No, I really do not. However, I do think he’d be in that mix of the elite along with guys like Usman and Covington. It would’ve been fun to see how a prime GSP would do against these guys who are at the top now.

After UFC 261, the table is set for Kamaru Usman – Colby Covington 2

This past Saturday at UFC 261, Kamaru Usman (19-1) defended his title against Jorge Masvidal (35-15). The fight was a rematch from last July when Kamaru Usman defeated Masvidal by decision on Fight Island.

That fight was put together on short notice and due to the way the fight went, both men wanted to run things back with a full camp. UFC 261 had a drastically different outcome but with the same winner.

To the surprise of many, Kamaru Usman knocked Masvidal out cold on the feet. Heading into UFC 261, everyone thought that Masvidal would have the striking advantage. However, Usman put him away doing what Masvidal does best.

With the Gamebred chapter closed, it’s on to another rematch for Kamaru Usman. Before last weekend’s PPV, Dana White said that Colby Covington (16-2) would be next in line for the UFC welterweight title. 

White reiterated these comments in his post-fight press conference. While Usman talked around the rematch, it’s clear that the fight between the two top welterweight is what’s next for the UFC.

When will the UFC make it happen?

White didn’t have a timeline for the UFC welterweight title fight, but Colby Covington has come out and said there is no reason to delay it. Usman came out of the fight last Saturday unscathed and Covington is ready to go.

Realistically, I think the UFC will put this fight together in either August or September and you can expect a heated buildup. In my opinion, these are the two best welterweights in the world and there first fight was extremely competitive.

Back at UFC 245 in December of 2019, these two met in the headliner. The fight was extremely close and watching it back, I had it 2-2 going into the fifth round. The judges had it 2-2, 3-1 Usman, 3-1 Covington.

The fifth round was going to decide the winner and Usman got the TKO to retain his welterweight title. Even if that stoppage doesn’t happen and Covington survives, Usman would have won a split decision at UFC 245.

I’m expecting the rematch to be just as competitive. Colby Covington and Gilbert Burns are really the only welterweights that I see giving Usman trouble. I don’t want to include Leon Edwards yet until I see him a bit more active. That said, the rematch between these two is going to be something to behold whenever the UFC gets it finalized.

UFC: Colby Covington is next in line for the title per Dana White

UFC, Colby Covington

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.