If Colby Covington is in a position to get through Tyron Woodley in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night leading tournament, he will be calling for any other shot on the welterweight title. But would he deserve it?

Kamaru Usman defended his title through preventing Covington — who argued the fight do not have been stopped — within the 5th spherical in their Dec. 14 bout. UFC president Dana White used to be inspired through the challenger, however he will produce other names to imagine, together with Leon Edwards and the winner of the proposed Nate DiazJorge Masvidal rematch. The UFC ranks Covington because the No. 2 challenger at the back of Gilbert Burns, who fights Usman later this 12 months, so Covington undoubtedly can be within the dialog.

But Woodley can finish that dialogue with a win, which might snap a two-fight shedding streak. And he has gotten some assist in fresh weeks from an individual very conversant in his opponent. Masvidal, who as soon as skilled and lived with Covington, helped Woodley train for Saturday’s fight. Will that be an element?

The co-main tournament should not lack fireworks, with Donald Cerrone dealing with Niko Price. Both males are competitive strikers and wish to go back to the win column, particularly Cerrone, who has misplaced 4 directly. Cerrone is 37 with a ton of mileage on his frame, and he is admitted retirement doesn’t seem as far away because it used to. How will Saturday’s fight have an effect on that?

Khamzat Chimaev, alternatively, is simply getting began. He made historical past in July through profitable two times within the Octagon in an 11-day span. Those have been the 26-year-old’s first two UFC fights, and he ruled in either one of them. So spectacular used to be Chimaev that White no longer handiest booked him for Saturday towards Gerald Meerschaert however once more in November towards Demian Maia.

Talk about speedy observe. But will that result in a title shot for Chimaev within the close to long run?

ESPN’s MMA professionals Ariel Helwani, Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim check out those subjects and deal with what is actual or no longer.

Real or no longer: If Colby Covington wins, he will get any other title shot subsequent

Helwani: It relies, however I feel it is not likely.

So, let’s pass so as right here: Let’s say Covington defeats Woodley. In order to be in attention, Covington has to overcome Woodley impressively and almost certainly end him.

OK, let’s consider he does that. Then let’s consider Kamaru Usman beats Gilbert Burns. I’d say that will considerably lower the possibilities of Covington getting the following title shot. I simply do not assume there’s a marketplace for a rematch so quickly. So, that may be that.

But let’s consider Burns wins. Would Usman get a direct rematch? Unless it is a debatable loss, I’d say no.

But then there may be the Jorge Masvidal-Nathan Diaz winner, and/or Leon Edwards, and who is aware of who else emerges between at times. Would Covington get a shot over the ones guys? I’ve a troublesome time envisioning that taking place.

Obviously, crazier issues have and may occur (accidents, timelines, contract negotiations, and so forth.), however my common feeling is irrespective of how he wins, if he wins, Covington must win no less than another fight to get any other title shot.

Real or no longer: Training with Jorge Masvidal will give Tyron Woodley an edge

Raimondi: Absolutely actual. Now, that isn’t to mention that it way Woodley will have to be preferred over Covington, or the rest like that. But sure, Woodley coaching with Masvidal — who used to be Covington’s highest pal and leader coaching spouse for years — will completely assist Woodley on Saturday.



Tyron Woodley discusses coaching with Jorge Masvidal once more and the way Masvidal motivated him to transparent up “poisonous” issues in his existence.

Woodley and Covington have skilled in combination sooner than, however that used to be years in the past — sooner than Covington used to be even within the UFC. Any wisdom received then most probably may not come into play a lot six years later. But Masvidal? He used to be coaching with Covington ceaselessly up till 2018. That is not too way back. It’s honest to mention Masvidal is aware of Covington about in addition to someone. They lived in combination. There are most probably issues Masvidal is aware of about Covington (and vice versa) that nobody else does. If the chance have been there for Woodley to select Masvidal’s mind, after all he needed to take it. And it will have to give Woodley an additional one thing that perhaps he did not have entering the fight to begin with.

I did discuss with Covington remaining week about Masvidal going to St. Louis to be a part of Woodley’s camp. Covington brushed it off, announcing the one factor Masvidal may train Woodley used to be how you can lose to Covington — as a result of that is all Masvidal ever did in observe, Covington stated. Even if that have been true, Masvidal has the danger to offer Woodley no less than some roughly intel he do not need generally had.

In a matchup of 2 of the most efficient welterweights on the earth, with Woodley, the previous UFC champ, looking to snap a two-fight shedding streak, each and every little bit is helping. It can be arduous to argue that having Masvidal as a sounding board on the health club would not assist Woodley someway. It’s undoubtedly an edge that Woodley do not need had another way.

Real or no longer: 2021 will be Donald Cerrone’s remaining 12 months combating within the UFC

Okamoto: I’m going with “no longer actual” in this one … however we would possibly minimize it shut. I do assume if it is not 2021, the general time we see Cerrone is 2022. He admitted to me, in an interview previous this 12 months, that he can see “the tip of the tunnel” and that he almost certainly has just a “couple years [left], and that is the reason pushing it.” Well, what is something we find out about Cowboy Cerrone? He’s a man who is gonna push it. He’s going to push that line. He will, possibly, stick round longer than many assume he will have to. That’s how he has operated his complete profession. He has taken the short turnaround fights, even if his control advised him most likely he will have to sit down and wait for a greater fight. That’s Cowboy. That’s why fanatics love him. He’s misplaced 4 in a row, however when you have a look at it, he is misplaced to Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, Conor McGregor and Anthony Pettis. Not like he is getting walked over through lesser skill. And numerous other people idea he gained his remaining fight towards Pettis. Bottom line, I feel Cowboy will fight past 2021, however no longer through a lot.

Real or no longer: Khamzat Chimaev will have fought for the belt or have a title shot booked through this time subsequent 12 months

Wagenheim: Whoa, cling your horses. The guy has been within the UFC for all of 2 months. Yeah, this coming weekend Chimaev will make his 3rd look throughout the Octagon, so at his swift tempo he would possibly have a dozen UFC fights beneath his belt through this time subsequent 12 months. And it would not take him that many victories to land a title shot, particularly with the Chechnya-born Swede briefly having established himself as a Dana White favourite. That issues. The UFC president will feed Chimaev a large alternative the primary probability he will get.

But Chimaev has some distance to move sooner than he will be staring around the cage at 170-pound king Kamaru Usman. His opponent for subsequent Saturday, Gerald Meerschaert, is a step up in pageant, in spite of having misplaced 4 of his previous six fights. And if Chimaev passes that check, he will in reality step up subsequent time. White has already let or not it’s identified that if Chimaev wins subsequent weekend, he can be booked towards jiu-jitsu grasp Demian Maia. Good success with that, Khamzat. The UFC obviously has plans for Chimaev, however the promotion had plans for Edmen Shahbazyan and Sean O’Malley, too, and each hit dose-of-reality roadblocks of their most up-to-date fights. So I’m no longer projecting a title shot for Chimaev till I see him defeat any individual who is living someplace within the high-altitude land of contenders.


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