Instead of (or maybe after) Colby Covington vs. Kamaru Usman, the UFC should book Colby Covington vs. Conor McGregor to headline a pay-per-view.
File this under MMA hot takes. You are probably reading the headline and saying “wait a minute. Colby deserves a title shot.” You are absolutely right. In fact, Colby Covington should have had his undisputed title shot by now, so it should be his next fight. But hear me out.
Given Saturday’s post-fight show interview, which featured a heavy back-and-forth verbal spar between Covington and UFC welterweight champion Kamara Usman, many are already looking forward to that fight. Add in the fact that these two have already barked at each other in a press conference in 2018 and came close to exchanging punches at a Casino earlier this year.
But for Covington, a fight against Conor McGregor would be massive for multiple reasons. McGregor already has a win as a welterweight, but has yet to become a champion in that division. Plus, let’s be honest. Trash talking is a big part of the game, that attracts interest to a fight. That is a big reason McGregor got to where he is today. The trash talk between Covington and McGregor would be hilarious, entertaining and epic leading up to the fight, and it would promise to attract a large audience for the night of the fight.
For McGregor, Covington would match his trash talk level. The two being on opposite sides jawing at each other might be the most entertaining trash talk combat sports fans would ever see. Another thing to consider: for McGregor, who has fought just once in the UFC since 2016, and with his last fight being 10 months ago, Covington would be a good fighter to welcome him back to the octagon.
McGregor struggled against Nate Diaz at UFC 196 and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, and both came away with submission finishes against McGregor by using their wrestling to help win the fight. McGregor, who was better prepared for Diaz’s wrestling at UFC 202, could show whether he can stop Covington’s wrestling.
Although Covington is more than deserving of a title shot at this point, fighting McGregor is a bigger deal financially and is a way to garner more eyes. Yes, Covington is currently the most hated fighter in combat sports already, and he does not care. But by fighting McGregor, he can get noticed by some of the casual fans who may not be familiar with him yet.
Again, fans will argue that Covington deserves a title shot while McGregor would be better off fighting either Nurmagomedov or Diaz again. But if the UFC books a fight between Covington and McGregor, the lead up to the fight, plus the fight itself, might be better than all of those potential match-ups.
Covington is expected to fight Usman for the UFC welterweight title soon. Whether Covington wins or loses, his first title defense or his first match coming off a loss from Usman should be against McGregor.
Either way, the UFC has different ways they can play this scenario, with or without a title match. It would be a lot of fun to watch play out.