The rumors are true! Colby “Chaos” Covington is the official backup for Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman at UFC 286.
Word started getting out on Thursday evening that Covington might be in London preparing to weigh in just in case any issues arose and Edwards or Usman had to bow out. The UFC did such a good job of keeping Colby’s status a secret that even the two main event fighters said this was the first they were hearing about it.
And now it’s confirmed: Covington stepped onto the scales Friday morning, weighing in at championship weight: 170 pounds on the dot with the aid of the UFC modesty cube. Watch “Chaos” do the deed below:
It’s unclear why there’s been so much secrecy surrounding Covington’s role as a backup. Typically fighters in the backup role are picked weeks out, although recently there have been situations where two fighters have claimed to be the backup. Leading up to UFC 280’s Oliveira vs. Makhachev event, Beneil Dariush said the UFC had dubbed him the official backup, only for Alexander Volkanovski to take the role.
It will be interesting to learn how this Covington situation developed, and how long the UFC has been planning this. 170 isn’t an easy target for most top level welterweights to hit, so we’re assuming this has been in the works for a while and not a last minute scramble because one of the two UFC 286 headliners is injured and might pull out (although Kamaru Usman was seen with a hand brace leading into the announcement of this event).
Colby Covington hasn’t competed since a March 2022 win over Jorge Masvidal, which was followed soon after by Masvidal sucker punching him outside a restaurant in Miami Beach. Covington pressed charges and then disappeared out of the public eye. The once omnipresent loudmouth got very quiet indeed, only making his contractually obligated sponsor posts on social media.
When asked at press conferences, UFC president Dana White has said Covington was ready to fight and just waiting for something to come together. It doesn’t seem like he’ll be needed after Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards both made weight and are looking good. But White wasn’t lying: the No. 2 ranked welterweight is looking very ready to fight.
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