When Colby Covington defeated Rafael dos Anjos to capture the interim welterweight title at UFC 225, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the controversial American Top Team representative would face Tyron Woodley in a championship unification bout.
Fast forward to the present day, and it’s Kamaru Usman, not Covington, who will square off against Woodley for the 170-pound strap at UFC 235 in Las Vegas on March 2. Covington, who was stripped of the interim belt after he was unable to compete at UFC 228 this past September, said Monday on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show that the promotion “lied to me” regarding a shot at the welterweight title.
"They made promises that I was going to fight Tyron Woodley in November at Madison Square Garden [at UFC 230],” Covington said. "They made promises I was going to fight him January in California. Now all of a sudden I'm getting passed up for a guy behind me that has beaten my sloppy seconds?
"It makes no sense to me. They are s----ing on me; they are s----ing on their fans. They are dulling their product.”
Covington has won six consecutive fights and nine of 10 overall in UFC competition. Meanwhile, Usman’s 13-bout winning streak includes nine straight triumphs in the Octagon. UFC President Dana White said Usman vs. Woodley was the fight to make following “The Nigerian Nightmare’s” triumph against dos Anjos at “The Ultimate Fighter 28” finale on Nov. 30.
I don’t have any answers yet…Covington’s obviously there,” White said following that fight. “If you just fought and you came off a great performance against a stud like RDA, I’m looking at you. Covington hasn’t fought in a while, he got injured. He didn’t defend his title. I used to talk ton of smack about Usman, and in one fight this guy turned me around. It makes me excited to see the Woodley fight.”
Covington said Monday that he attempted to reach White regarding the current situation, but his message was not returned. Covington hasn’t fought since the June win over dos Anjos and is willing to sit out until he is granted a title shot. If his UFC release comes first, that’s fine by him.
"I don't need the UFC, the UFC needs me," Covington said. "Unless they are calling me for a title shot, I have nothing to say to them. If they want to release me, release me. I'm going to wait to get what I deserved. That's a title fight.
"There's other big fights out there. The options are aplenty for me. I have decisions and choices to make. I'll go fight anywhere.”