The UFC Newark main event has been set, with former champ Robbie Lawler facing ex-interim title holder Colby Covington.
The UFC’s return to Newark, New Jersey appears to have a main event. ESPN was first to report, citing UFC President Dana White, that former interim champ Colby Covington would fight ex-champ Robbie Lawler at the event. The fight pits two of the biggest names at 170lbs against each other, though it may come as a surprise to some, given Covington appeared a lock for a fight with current champ Kamaru Usman.
Usman, however, may not be ready to compete until later in the year. That left the spot atop the Newark card, which is UFC on ESPN 5, an option.
Covington (14-1) captured the interim 170lb title last June against Rafael dos Anjos. The win topped a six fight run during which Covington defeated increasingly rugged competition, including the likes of Bryan Barberena and Demian Maia.
That run also saw the American hone a right-wing, MAGA-hat wearing, porn star loving persona that made him public enemy #1 with MMA fans, especially with Conor McGregor inactive.
However, Covington’s time at the top was short-lived. Although expected to face Tyron Woodley in a title unification bout, Covington turned down a September 2018 bout with the champ, citing injury. He was then passed over in favor of Kamaru Usman, who would go on to defeat Woodley. ‘Chaos’ was later stripped of the interim title.
However, Covington was still expected to get a title shot moving forward. It seems, however, that he’ll have to get through Lawler to do it. Lawler lost the 170lb title to Woodley at UFC 201 in 2016. He has fought just three times since, and sat out all of 2018. In his last outing, he found himself choked out by Ben Askren, in a fight not without controversy.
UFC Newark (UFC on ESPN 5) takes place August 3, 2019 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The event will air on ESPN in the U.S.