After reports emerged that the promotion was targeting a rematch between Masvidal and Nate Diaz, UFC president Dana White revealed an apparent change in plans. At the UFC 253 post-fight news conference Saturday, White said that it’s “very possible” Covington vs. Masvidal is next. According to Covington, he’s already told the UFC he’s in.
Covington (16-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC) and Masvidal (35-14 MMA, 14-8 UFC) are former teammates at American Top Team, roommates and best friends. But in the past year, their relationship turned sour as Masvidal’s star shined while Covington remained in the welterweight title picture.
Speaking to Submission Radio, Covington said that following his fifth-round TKO win over Tyron Woodley earlier this month, the UFC approached him with the Masvidal fight.
“The talks have been great,” Covington said. “Like I said, I agreed on the night that I fought Woodley and retired Woodley that night and left him in a stretcher to the hospital. I agreed right away. I said, ‘Dana, let’s do it. I wanna sign it up.’ You know, the terms are pretty much done. We’re ready to go. So, it’s all in ‘Street Judas’ Masvidal’s court.”
He continued, “Dana White came up to me after my fight immediately and said, ‘Hey, we want to do you vs. Masvidal.’ I accepted right on that night, in that minute. So, (Masvidal) knows I’m on board. The UFC knows I’m on board. Now it’s just about getting ‘Street Judas’ Masvidal on board. He’s scared. He’s scared of my shadow. If my shadow was around him, he’d be running. So, who knows if he’ll show up to the octagon. I definitely don’t want to have to beat him up on the streets of Miami, cause I am the king of Miami.”
After skyrocketing to superstardom in 2019 with finishes of Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz, Masvidal stepped in on short notice to face welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 251 in July. Although Masvidal lost a unanimous decision, his impact on the event’s success was undeniable.
Covington thinks a fight between him and Masvidal should certainly be a pay-per-view headliner and even hopes they can somehow square off in front of a crowd in Miami.
“It’s going to be a pay-per-view main event,” Covington said. “I mean, there’s no doubt about it. We’re two of the biggest draws in the company, and we just so happen to be in the same weight class, and it just so happens to be we used to be best friends. We used to live together, train together every single day. …
“I think the best place to propose it for would be for American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. I think that would be a great ticket. And hopefully by the time fans come back in December/January, it’s just perfect. It aligns perfectly, and there’s a big market for MMA in Miami. So, people want to see fighting in Miami, and I think the UFC needs to come back to Miami.”