That’s according to UFC President Dana White, who told “The Schmo” that the promotion hopes to pair the rivals next year despite claims from Covington that Masvidal downplayed the matchup because he didn’t like the clash of styles.
“I don’t think Masvidal said, ‘I don’t like that fight stylistically,’” White said. “We’re working on that fight. That’s the fight we want, too, and hopefully we’ll get that done this year, too.
“I’m telling you, we’ve got nothing but big fights all this year, so hopefully we can get a couple of these key ones buttoned up and done and start looking forward to them.”
As far as key matchups, the UFC could do worse for the marquee and entertainment value both fighters bring to the table. The two share a long backstory that began at American Top Team, where they trained alongside each other and even lived together in Covington’s early career. The two talked up each other as they fought their way through the crowed welterweight division, but they had a falling out after Masvidal’s star turn against Ben Askren at UFC 239. Masvidal accused Covington of shorting one of his cornermen for a fight, and the two began to trade shots in the media.
The rivalry grew so intense they were intentionally kept away from each other at ATT before gym owner Dan Lambert created a rule forbidding teammates not booked against each other to trash talk. When Covington blatantly violated the rule, insulting not only Masvidal but a number of other fighters, he left the gym.
Both Covington and Masvidal tried unsuccessfully to capture the welterweight title currently held by Kamaru Usman. To get another shot at the belt, they may have to go through each other. But Covington has claimed Masvidal, who most recently lost a decision to Usman in July at UFC 251, has been dodging the fight.
Check out the full video below.