Colby Covington’s next fight will not be for the UFC welterweight title after all.
The former interim 170-pound champion is expected to meet former UFC champ Robbie Lawler in the UFC Newark main event on Aug. 3 in Newark, New Jersey, ESPN reported Monday night. The report described the pairing as verbally agreed for the card.
Covington hasn’t fought since a June 2018 win over ex-lightweight titleholder Rafael dos Anjos, in which he won the interim belt. He was targeted to fight then-champion Tyron Woodley last September, but couldn’t take the fight because he was recovering from surgery. After Kamaru Usman’s title win over Woodley in March, UFC president Dana White told Covington he was next for Usman. Covington, who is riding a six-fight winning streak, said recently he had hoped to fight Usman at UFC 244 in November.
Lawler is coming off a controversial submission loss to Ben Askren at UFC 235 earlier this year. Referee Herb Dean thought Lawler was unconscious when Askren had him in a choke hold and thus ended the fight, but Lawler seemed to pop up immediately as Dean intervened, arguing that he wasn’t out.
Lawler, on a two-fight skid, hasn’t won since a decision over Donald Cerrone at UFC 214 in July 2017. He is 1-2 since dropping the title to Woodley in 2016. He was champion — and defended the title successfully twice — for a year and a half.
The only other bout targeted for UFC Newark at this time is a lightweight tilt between veterans Jim Miller and Clay Guida.