Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos wants to fight for the welterweight title. Rising 170-pound firebrand Colby Covington wants to fight dos Anjos. Both men may soon get their way.
According to a Thursday report from BJPenn.com, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is working to put together an interim championship bout between the pair of top-10 welterweights. The fight would reportedly take place at UFC 224 on May 12 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, headlined by a women's bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington.
Despite being ostensibly healthy, current full UFC welterweight king Tyron Woodley balked at facing either man despite their emergence as contenders in recent months, preferring to angle for potential bigger paydays against fighters like Nate Diaz and Georges St. Pierre, which dos Anjos has publicly chided him for.
“I’m not his friend, family or anything close. I’m his foe,” Woodley wrote on Twitter on Feb. 7 in response to dos Anjos’ public chastisement. “Could give a care less about his patience. I’ll deal with him after I finish my scrap with @NateDiaz209 go fight Qweefington if you are impatient and bored.”
I’m not his friend, family or anything close. I’m his foe. Could give a care less about his patience. I’ll deal with him after I finish my scrap with @NateDiaz209 go fight Qweefington if you are impatient and bored https://t.co/Yh4ZS7BGTi— Tyron T-Wood Woodley (@TWooodley) February 7, 2018
Meanwhile, Covington has repeatedly called out dos Anjos, even going so far as to digitally alter and post a screenshot of a fake email inbox that appeared to show the Brazilian refusing to fight him, snarking that he “left his email open in an Apple Store.”
Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) March 16, 2017
The potential choice of UFC 224 as the venue for the hypothetical interim title clash is also intriguing, as dos Anjos is a native of Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro and more pertinently Covington infamously called Brazilian fans “filthy animals” and called the country “a dump” after defeating Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 119 in Sao Paulo last October.
Covington, 30, has gone 8-1 in the UFC since first stepping into the Octagon in August 2004. Since his 86-second upset submission loss to Warlley Alves, the aptly nicknamed “Chaos” has won five straight, including wins over Maia, Dong Hyun Kim and Bryan Barberena. The 33-year-old dos Anjos, since losing his lightweight title and moving down to 170 pounds, has gone 3-0 in his new weight class, dominating Tarec Saffiedine and Neil Magny in 2017 before closing the year by taking a five-round decision over former divisional champion Robbie Lawler last December.