They hype for the next welterweight championship matchup took a pretty strange turn on Saturday night in Las Vegas. In a video obtained by TMZ Sports (WARNING: Video includes graphic language), the day after UFC 235 in which Kamaru Usman captured the 170-pound title, the new champ and manager Ali Abdelaziz approached former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington inside a Vegas casino and the two parties scuffled from there. Security stepped in to deescalate the situation and they were escorted from the building.
This casino incident is merely the latest chapter in the beef between the two welterweights.
Last year in Brooklyn during the UFC 25th anniversary press conference, Usman confronted Covington backstage with the former interim champ largely ignoring the confrontation -- well, at least until they were in front of the live cameras. Then, leading up to the UFC 235 event this past weekend, Covington -- along with his interim title and a megaphone -- crashed Usman's open workout in Las Vegas to express his displeasure with not receiving the shot at Woodley. Finally, immediately after in the co-main event to become the new welterweight champ, another showdown between the now-champion and his No. 1 contender took place. Usman exited the cage and went to confront the outspoken Covington once again, who was seated cage side. The interaction was brief, however, as security was able to quickly step in there as well.
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Covington then proceeded to take things a step further during an appearance on "Ariel Helwani's MMA Show" on Monday. While running back the incident with Helwani, Covington claimed that Abdelaziz told him that he was going to shoot and kill him before the fracas came to an conclusion.
Immediately following UFC 235 on Saturday, ESPN's Brett Okamoto reported that UFC informed Covington was informed he'll be receiving the first shot at Usman at a date and venue yet to be determined. Despite the title bout not being official yet, you can't argue that it's becoming a headlining act in the promotion, for better or worse.
UFC news, rumors
- Former NFL star Greg Hardy will return to the Octagon in April. ESPN's Ariel Helwani is reporting that Hardy will compete on the ESPN Fight Night card on April 27 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, against Dmitrii Smoliakov. Hardy made his highly-publicized UFC heavyweight debut in January on the first ESPN+ event in Brooklyn, with the former defensive end .
- After his successful light heavyweight title defense against Anthony Smith on Saturday night in the UFC 235 main event, many pondered whether it may finally be time for Jon Jones to go test himself at heavyweight. When asked about what's next for the 205-pound champ afterwards, though, UFC president Dana White seemed to set the wheels in motion for another light heavyweight title defense, noting his love for a potential matchup of Jones vs. Thiago Santos, who has emerged victorious in his last three fights via TKO.