Former interim UFC welterweight champion, Colby Covington has claimed that former American Top Team teammate and arch-rival, Jorge Masvidal rejected an offer from the promotion to serve as one of the coaches ahead of an Ultimate Fighter relaunch — culminating in a June showdown at the season’s finale.
Covington and Masvidal have been continously linked to a grudge-match opposite each other since September of last year where the former knocked back former undisputed champion, Tyron Woodley in a fifth-round stoppage after the St. Louis native suffered a rib injury.
Former teammates in Coconut Creek, Florida — Covington and Masvidal once shared a friendship to boot, however, the pair seemed to be a collision course for some time this year, with UFC president, Dana White hinting time and time again that a matchup between the two was something the promotion was looking toward.
Confirming during the course of last week that the upcoming reboot of The Ultimate Fighter reality show would feature two welterweight coaches, the community began to clamour that Covington and Masvidal would take coaching roles — ending in an eventual summer showdown. All the chips seemed to be finally into place, with the promotion interestingly noting their interest in a return to Florida following a trio of events in Jacksonville last May — with the ‘Sunshine State’ the operating base of both Covington and Masvidal.
Prior to UFC 258 on Saturday, a spanner was thrown into the works in regards to the projected pairing of Covington and Masvidal. Forced from a UFC Vegas 21 headliner against Leon Edwards on March 13th. — uber-prospect, Khamzat Chimaev is still dealing with lingering health issues amid a prior positive COVID-19 test result. Per the above mentioned, White, the UFC is currently targeting a matchup of Covington and the #3 ranked Edwards on short-notice instead.
Speaking with Submission Radio recently, Covington claimed that the promotion was hoping to begin filming the twenty-fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter in May, with a matchup against Masvidal tentatively tied to a June showcase at the event’s finale.
“It was a conversation that took place (The Ultimate Fighter vs. Masvidal),” Covington said. “My side was done. As soon as I got done with (Tyron) Woodley — Dana White promised me either Jorge Masvidal or Marty Fakenewsman (Kamaru Usman) next. So I was willing to do them a favour and fight Jorge Masvidal and go back in the rankings, and fight some journeyman, you know he’s washed up.”
“He hasn’t fought in a year, he knows he’s at the end of his time and his career is over, he doesn’t want me to completely end his career. It’s unfortunate because I know that’s what the fans wanted, and I like giving the fans what they want and be the people’s champion for a reason, but what can I do when a guy blatantly ducks me, you know.“
Covington explained how the UFC had contacted him about a potential December or January matchup against Masvidal, who according to him, was “nowhere to be found“.
“After I fought (Tyron) Woodley, Dana White, Hunter Campbell called me, they wanted to get the fight done in December/January. I was on board, I agreed, I put the pen to paper. But Jorge Masvidal was nowhere to be found. He was hiding. Him and Malki (Kawa) were hiding. They want nothing to do with me. They know what happens when they fight me, it doesn’t end well for them. So, they’ve been ducking me, and they [the UFC] wanted that fight then. And then after he turned down January, they were like, ‘Ok, well let’s do the Ultimate Fighter’. You know, ‘We can start taping in May, you guys fight as the pay-per-view main event at the end of it in June’. And it would have been perfect because, you know, I am Jorge Masvidal’s father and I know Father’s Day is in June, so it would have been a two-for-one special. I would have beat his ass, spanked my little son and I would have got a happy Father’s Day.”
Following his successful title retention at UFC 258 on Saturday via a third-round knockout win over former teammate, Gilbert Burns, Kamaru Usman called for a rematch against past-foe, Masvidal — this time on a full camp, claiming he’d put the BMF champion “in a coffin” if he drew the Floridian for a second time in his career.