The welterweight division is wide open when it comes to who is next to challenge for Kamaru Usman’s championship, but one thing that is for sure is that it won’t be Colby Covington or Jorge Masvidal.
Between them, they’ve lost four of their last six fights with each of those defeats coming to the champion in title fights. Both men were KO’d once and taken the distance in another, but ultimately comfortably beaten.
So next up is obvious, right? Pit them against each other to get themselves back on track.
That was Covington’s clear plan anyway after defeat at UFC 268, calling for Masvidal to pull out of his scheduled fight with Leon Edwards at UFC 269 so they can finally settle their differences.
He got his wish just a few days later, as the UFC confirmed that Masvidal had suffered an “undisclosed injury” and would be unable to fight in December. A fight between the two hasn’t been made official yet, but it seems that’s the direction that the UFC want to go in.
But rather than just make the grudge match between the two headline a Fight Night card or act as a warm-up on a pay-per-view with little-to-no build up, the UFC can make this even bigger than it is already.
A new series of The Ultimate Fighter has already been confirmed for 2022, with the organisation confirming that two coaches will help a field of men’s heavyweights and women’s flyweights.
But while the return of the the series was relatively successful in 2021 with Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega in charge, it was missing that bit of edge.
The most memorable seasons of the show have always had an intense rivalry between the coaches as well as great competition inside the octagon.
The run-ins the two would have outside the cage, added to the fact there is already a feud between Covington and the American Top Team gym that Masvidal is part of, it would just add so much more to the bout.
Masvidal’s popularity and the creation of the ‘BMF Title’ means the UFC could potentially try to recreate what they did at UFC 244 by making the fight headline a pay-per-view card.
Adding the TUF finalists to the prelims or having them on a special fight night card beforehand means the show can still take precedence, but this fight just needs a bigger platform than a standard fight.
It needs five rounds, it needs a build-up for fight fans to be able to feed off and it needs a grand stage to host it. Make it happen UFC.