At UFC 235 Tyron Woodley will defend his welterweight title. However, it will not be against Colby Covington, rather he will take on Kamaru Usman.
To many, the news was surprising given Covington was the interim welterweight champion and seemed to be next in line. But, according to American Top Team owner Dan Lambert, Covington was skipped because he turned down a fight for possibly another interim title.
“I think he didn’t get the shot because he was unwilling to take a different fight on short notice when he has been promised a fight against Woodley,” Lambert said to BJPENN.com. “He had been offered that fight a few different times. He was offered it in November, January and not too long before the fight was supposed to happen Woodley couldn’t do it because of a finger injury.
“They then wanted Colby to fight Usman instead for the right to fight Woodley on March 2 which is six weeks later,” he continued. “That math just doesn’t work because how many things can go wrong in a fight. To then make a turnaround in six weeks against the champion is undoable. He was then like ‘no, I’ll wait for the champion.’ They said ‘no, if you don’t take the fight against Usman we are going to skip you over’ and that is what they did.
“A million things could happen, it just is not practical from Colby’s standpoint,” Lambert explained. “He still has the interim belt, he technically has still never been stripped of his interim belt. To turn around to say you fight Usman for a number one contender fight just didn’t make sense.”
Now, the question remains, what is next for Colby Covington? Does he indeed stay out and wait for the winner as he says? Or, will he fight another contender and if he wins get the next title shot? Well, according to Lambert, Covington is sticking to his guns.
“Colby has come out and said he is not fighting unless it is against the champion,” he said. “Whether you like or don’t like him, the guy is not full of shit. When he says that he means it.”
Ultimately, many fans were hoping for a fight between Covington and Woodley given all the trash-talk the two have exchanged. Plus, both Woodley and Covington claim they beat each other up when they trained together at ATT a few years back. Unfortunately, like everyone else, Lambert doesn’t know what actually happened.
“They are both great fighters. I wasn’t at their training and have heard different things about their training from two different sides,” Lambert said. “I believe nothing of what I hear and half of what I see. So, I don’t know how the training went. Just because the training went a certain way doesn’t mean the fight will go that way. They are two of the top if not the top welterweights in the UFC right now. Woodley has a claim to being the greatest welterweight of all-time. I just don’t know, that fight could go either way.”
The hope is for Lambert and Covington is that Covington gets the next title shot against the winner of Woodley vs Usman. For now, Covington is playing a waiting game hoping for the title shot he was promised.
Do you think Colby Covington’s next fight is for the belt?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/1/2019.