It looks like Colby Covington’s next opponent will not be Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight title holder Kamaru Usman.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto is reporting that Covington and Robbie Lawler have verbally agreed to headline UFC Newark on Aug. 3. Okamoto cites UFC president Dana White and “additional sources.”
“Breaking: Colby Covington vs. Robbie Lawler has been verbally agreed to headline UFC Fight Night on Aug. 3 in Newark, per UFC president Dana White and additional sources.”
Usman responded to the news in a statement, which was sent out by his manager Ali Abdelaziz:
“I should be ready to go by November. Whoever Dana White says is next. He’s the boss. If Askren looks good and that’s who the UFC wants, he’s next.”
Covington last competed back in June 2018. He defeated Rafael dos Anjos to capture the interim UFC welterweight championship. Covington was stripped of the gold after a disagreement over not fighting at UFC 228, but those issues are now in the past.
As for Lawler, he’s coming off a controversial submission loss to Ben Askren back in March. The former UFC welterweight kingpin was scheduled to take on Tyron Woodley in a rematch at UFC Minneapolis this Saturday night (June 29). Those plans went south when Woodley was pulled due to an injury.
This will be the UFC’s first trip to Newark since Jan. 2016. At that event, Anthony Johnson defeated Ryan Bader via first-round knockout in the opening frame. Now, Johnson is retired and Bader is the Bellator light heavyweight and heavyweight champion.