Former UFC welterweight fighter Ben Askren thinks it is unfair that Colby Covington didn’t get the rematch against Kamaru Usman and instead Jorge Masvidal took his place.
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will be defending his title against former challenger Jorge Masvidal in a rematch at UFC 261 on April 24 with a full capacity crowd at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The last time UFC had a full capacity crowd was back in March of 2020 at UFC 248 when Israel Adesanya successfully defended his UFC middleweight title against Yoel Romero.
The main event of UFC 261 is a rematch from the UFC 251 fight that took place last year in Abu Dhabi. In that fight, Kamaru Usman was able to defeat Jorge Masvidal via a unanimous decision. However, Masvidal has been gunning for a rematch ever since as he took the fight on six days’ notice as the opponent initially scheduled to fight Usman i.e Gilbert Burns tested positive for Covid-19.
Ben Askren feels Covington should have got the title shot next
Having already beaten the top-four ranked fighters in his division, a rematch was likely for Usman. Before stopping Gilbert Burns at UFC 258, Usman finished Colby Covington in the fifth round at UFC 245, which was followed by a lopsided unanimous decision to win over Masvidal at UFC 251.
Masvidal hasn’t competed since losing to Usman, whereas Covington rebounded with a stoppage win over former champ Tyron Woodley last September. That being said, Askren, the former Bellator and ONE champion, thinks Usman’s win over Masvidal was a lot more definitive than Covington, so Covington should have gotten the title rematch instead.
“I didn’t like that booking actually,” Askren said in an interview with MMA personality Helen Yee. “I said this also, and I got a lot of pushback, and I was really surprised. To me, or the scorecards, that was a 50-43 fight. Jorge won no rounds, he won zero, and he lost 10-8 in two of them, and you had Colby vs. Usman, which was 2-2 going into the fifth round. Colby ended up getting knocked out, but it was competitive. Colby has won a fight since then; Jorge has not.
“There could be some stuff behind the scenes that I’m not seeing because that’s not my job that is preventing Colby from getting another shot. Nobody likes Colby. Like, no fans are like, ‘Oh sh*t, we want Colby to get the shot’ because nobody likes him. But even me, who doesn’t like him, thinks that probably would have made a lot more sense.”
Covington has given Usman his toughest test to date in the octagon. One judge even had him up three rounds to one going into the fifth, but Usman was able to leave it out of the judges’ hands by finishing Covington, who has questioned the stoppage and campaigned for a rematch ever since.
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