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UFC 235 results: The welterweight circus has a new ringleader — who needs to fight Colby Covington

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) shook up its 170-pound division last Sat. night (March 2, 2019) by way of the UFC 235: “Jones vs. Smith” pay-per-view (PPV) event in Las Vegas, Nevada, which — aside from the Jon Jones title fight — featured two high-profile welterweight showdowns (get full results and play-by-play here).

In the championship co-main event, Kamaru Usman put an absolute clinic on Tyron Woodley, capturing the welterweight title from “The Chosen One” following five-rounds of lopsided action. I don't know whether or not Woodley was overlooking “The Nigerian Nightmare,” spent too much time in the recording booth, or simply didn’t have a gameplan for his “Sin City” return, but he looked completely lost from bell to bell.

As a result, Woodley is no longer ringleader of what can only be described as a welterweight circus.

Before Usman made history inside T-Mobile Arena, ex-division champion, Robbie Lawler, bulldozed former Bellator MMA and ONE Championship welterweight kingpin, Ben Askren, prior to losing the fight by way of submission. Unfortunately for the “Ruthless” slugger, it appears “Funky” may have stolen one after referee Herb Dean blew the call, putting a premature halt to the action in fear that Lawler was fast asleep.

He wasn’t.

The botched finish (read all about it), as well as Lawler’s opening assault, is likely to keep Askren from competing for the belt, as there was nothing in that performance to suggest he was worthy of an immediate title shot. Not that promotion president, Dana White, was that high on the Olympian to begin with. In fact, I’m convinced Askren is only in the UFC because it was an excuse to get rid of Demetrious Johnson and eventually, the flyweight division.

Coming into UFC 235, it was understood that Woodley and Askren — longtime friends and teammates — would never compete against one another, though a loss for “The Chosen One” could open the door for “Funky.” For all the reasons previously listed above, that shot should now go to Colby Covington, the former UFC interim welterweight champion who lost his substitute strap by turning down a Woodley fight last September. On paper, he’s clearly the most deserving contender (and already ranked No. 1), having captured six straight wins with consecutive victories over Demian Maia and Rafael dos Anjos.

He also has an existing rivalry with Usman.

I understand that most fans don’t want to see Covington get a title shot because he parades around town like a total douchebag. But I believe that is precisely the reason why White and Co. will give it to him. Assuming we see the same “Nigerian Nightmare” who showed up at UFC 235, Covington is likely to get run over and that will end his one-man show, which includes profanity-laced interviews and impromptu visits to White’s blackjack games.

It also affords Askren the opportunity to rematch Lawler and prove that his first victory was legitimate and not the result of poor officiating. Personally, I would rather see “Ruthless” throw hands in a welterweight death match opposite Santiago Ponzinibbio, but I think matchmakers will be more interested in setting up Askren to face the winner of Usman vs. Covington. Like “Chaos,” the “Funky” troublemaker has been starting shit with “Marty from Nebraska” just to establish a future rivalry.

Elsewhere in the division, No. 3-ranked Darren Till is fighting No. 10-ranked Jorge Masvidal at UFC London in two weeks, while No. 4-ranked Stephen Thompson battles the unranked Anthony Pettis at UFC Nashville a week after that.

This weight class is weird.

For much more on UFC 235, including highlights, recaps, breaking news and much more, head over to our “Jones vs. Smith” live story stream by clicking here.

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