To quote the fellas in Portrait: Here weeeee gooooo ... HERE WE GO AGAIN!
UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, fresh off his 155-pound title defense against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 in Perth — a “champ champ” fight green-lit by way of prolonged featherweight dominance — is looking to become the next two-division titleholder by jumping up to welterweight and challenging reigning 170-pound kingpin Leon Edwards.
That request is likely to be denied without prejudice. Promotion president Dana White recently told the combat sports media that Edwards, who captured a majority decision victory over longtime rival Kamaru Usman in the UFC 286 headliner on Sat. night (March 18) in London, will be moving on to battle two-time title challenger Colby Covington, a surprise backup this weekend at The O2.
Covington holds the No. 2 spot at 170 pounds, directly behind Usman.
“I don’t know when we’ll do it, but that’s the fight that makes sense,” White said at the UFC 286 post-fight press conference (watch it here). “Colby came here and cut weight and did everything to be here for this fight. He deserves the fight, not to mention he’s the second or third best guy in the world.”
“Leon Scott is very good when he’s fighting guys who are orthodox,” Covington said during the UFC 286 broadcast. “He has his left kick and his left hand. That’s his favorite punch and his favorite kick. Now, he’s going to fight a guy who’s going to be in his face, a southpaw. Styles make fights and I’m going to finish him on home soil in America, hopefully, International Fight Week in July. Let’s get this going.”
Edwards may need some convincing, based on his post-fight remarks.
“That man sat out for a like a year and a half or two years, he ain’t fought nobody,” Edwards said about Covington. “I might take a little trip to Miami [to UFC 287] and see what those two welterweights are going on with and see what’s going on there.”
UFC 287 features this compelling (and long overdue) “bum” fight.
If Edwards vs. Covington comes to fruition then Makhachev will likely face the winner of Beneil Dariush vs. Charles Oliveira when the champ makes his Octagon return in the UFC 294 pay-per-view (PPV) main event, recently made official for Sat., Oct. 21, 2023 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Dariush and Oliveira will determine the next lightweight title challenger when they collide at UFC 288 this May in Newark, NJ.
That's the fight to make if UFC is a “true sport.”
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 294 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET, before the pay-per-view (PPV) main card start time at 10 p.m. ET (also on ESPN+).
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 294: “Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.