Although most consider Colby Covington to be the No. 1 contender in the UFC welterweight division, it’s possible he gets passed over for the next title shot.
Everyone thought Covington would be next in line to fight UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, but Covington was recently booked to fight Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC Newark. Covington hasn’t fought since last June and with Usman out until November, Covington needed to take a fight to stay busy and make some money.
The problem with taking that fight is that it now opens up the door to someone else sneaking in and stealing that welterweight title shot, and Ben Askren believes he could be the man to leapfrog Covington and steal the title shot.
According to Askren, if he beats Jorge Masvidal this weekend at UFC 239, he believes he will be next in line to fight Usman for the belt.
“I think there’s a good chance after this fight that I’m going to get a title shot,” Askren told UFC.com.
As much as Covington deserves a title shot based on his record in the UFC and the fact he’s a former interim champ, Askren has immediately become a star for the UFC. His social media metrics are massive and anytime his name is mentioned people get excited. It’s clear that while UFC president Dana White used to despise him, he now sees how much business Askren can generate. Although Covington is very popular himself, it’s clear that the UFC has confidence in Askren’s ability to sell a fight too.
Of course, Askren has to go in there and beat Masvidal, and that’s no small task. But if he can go in there and take care of Masvidal in impressive fashion, don’t be surprised if Askren indeed leapfrogs Covington for the next title shot at 170lbs.
If Ben Askren beats Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 should he get the welterweight next title shot over Colby Covington?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/3/2019.