Colby Covington’s next Octagon appearance will not be a title shot as initially anticipated. Instead, the former interim welterweight titlist will square off against Robbie Lawler in the UFC on ESPN 5 headliner.
UFC President Dana White told ESPN on Monday that the promotion is close to finalizing the contest. UFC on ESPN 5 will take place on Aug. 3 in Newark, N.J. Both fighters have reportedly agreed to the matchup. According to the report, Covington would have faced Usman, but the reigning champion is not ready to defend his title as he is still recovering from injuries.
Covington hasn’t competed since winning the interim 170-pound strap with a unanimous verdict over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 225 in June 2018. “Chaos” was stripped of the crown due to inactivity. The American Top Team product is currently on a six-fight winning streak. He has won nine of his 10 UFC appearances overall.
Lawler, meanwhile, is coming off a controversial submission loss to Ben Askren at UFC 235. The ex-champion had been booked to rematch Tyron Woodley at UFC on ESPN 3 on June 29 before Woodley had to pull out of the headlining bout due to injury. “Ruthless” has lost three of his last four promotional appearances.