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Colby Covington might just fight his best friend, Jorge Masvidal, next if Kamaru Usman ducks him

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Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim Welterweight champion, Colby Covington, scored a big win this past weekend, dominating former 170-pound kingpin, Robbie Lawler, for five rounds at UFC on ESPN 5 to earn a unanimous decision (highlights).

So big, in fact, that now he thinks he’s the division’s undisputed roost-ruler.

“[Kamaru Usman] might get the title shot next, I might have to give it to my best friend [Jorge Masvidal],” Covington recently told Ariel Helwani. “[Usman is] over in his safe space with his little manager Ali Abdel-sleaze, and we know they’re going to do everything they can to duck me. I hope he’s next. He better be next. But, if he’s not next, I move on, business moves on. I’m the best welterweight in the world and I keep proving that very single night.”

Of course, Usman — who was sitting ringside when “Chaos” ran roughshod over “Ruthless” in Newark — claimed the belt from Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 back in March. Usman and Covington ran their mouths and beat their chests afterward (watch it) in an attempt to sell the bout, which is not official at the time of this writing.

It was a cringeworthy display.

Company President Dana White claimed that Covington would be next in line for Usman with a win over Lawler. That doesn’t ever really mean much, though — just ask Covington himself. Indeed, there is apparently nothing in writing.

The fight does make sense, I guess. I mean, the two get into heated confrontations standing in line next to each other. Twice. Their wrestling-minded styles could cancel out each other and the fight could turn out to be a 25-minute grapple slog, but whatever, it’s hard to argue both are not deserving of the opportunity.

Nevertheless, Masvidal needs to somehow remain in the conversation moving forward — even in a “standby” capacity in case something goes sideways between now and UFC 244 (or UFC 245).

That’s because he was never really too far away from being “in the mix” to begin with.

Masvidal is a 17-fight UFC veteran, but only recently has “Gamebred” really been able to put it all together inside (and outside) the Octagon, winning back-to-back fights in 2019 in incredible fashion. Record-breaking, jaw-dropping fashion. Heretofore, Masvidal was labeled a “slow starter,” an action fighter who couldn’t “pull the trigger” until it was too late.

Those split decision days seem done.

The Cuban/Peruvian brawler has expressed an interest in welcoming Conor McGregor back to the Octagon (who wouldn’t?) or simply waiting for a title shot. Sure, Leon Edwards might be the logical fight to make, but Masvidal has no interest in fighting him. Hard to blame the 34-year-old — he already got his licks in. And he’s been paying his dues for more than 15 years, fighting dudes in backyards back in Kimbo Slice’s YouTube heyday.

If Covington is down — and/or Usman is ultimately ruled out for whatever reason — Masvidal would be best available option to step in and get to work.

He’s ready. He’s always been ready.