UFC News: Latest Buzz on Woodley vs. Covington, Masvidal vs. Usman, More

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2020

Tyron Woodley his first round KO victory over Jay Hieron during their UFC 156 welterweight mixed martial arts match, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 at The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Eric Jamison/Associated Press

In the UFC, the conflict between fighters begins long before the actual fight.

That's especially true in the case of Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington.

Neither welterweight combatant likes the other, and they're not afraid to voice their mutual acrimony.

Their rivalry dates back to 2017, and it's been escalating on a slow burn ever since.

Now, the heat to secure a potential bout is at boiling point as both are trying to out-trash-talk each other.

Jorge Masvidal just lost to Kamaru Usman on "Fight Island," Dana White's widely successful experiment for UFC 251, but he's already eyeing a rematch.

Then there's Ariane Lipski, who wants to finally plant her flag as one of the best in the sport.


Woodley vs. Covington

John Locher/Associated Press
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Nothing draws out an adversary quite like a trolling post on social media.

That's where the latest dispute between Woodley and Covington began.

On Instagram, the latter posted an image of a contract that was supposed to be an agreement for the two men to face off in the Octagon.

"This was supposed to be your main event August 22nd on ESPN until Tyrone did what his daddy should've and pulled out... AGAIN!" Covington wrote in the caption.

Covington turned the screws further in a statement to MMAFighting.com.

"He gassed out against a fat school teacher the other night playing relay races on NBC, and I think the people close to him finally had a come to Jesus meeting about the suicidal tendencies he is exhibiting by wanting to sign a contract with my name on the other end of it," Covington told Damon Martin. "It's a death sentence and he knows it, everyone knows it."

Woodley got wind of the IG post and the subsequent dig at his participation on Titan Games, the reality competition series hosted by actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and responded to Covington's veiled remark suggesting that he pulled out of a potential fight to ESPN's Ariel Helwani via text message.

"My answer to whether I would fight Colby is eternally yes," Woodley wrote. "At 96 years old in a nursing home it's yes! He said no six times and now creates a date that works for him? F--k out of here."

The former UFC welterweight champion also made sure to point out that while he was willing to face off against Covington for his next bout, the proposed Aug. 22 date was off the table.

"I literally treated it like every other bluff and told them quit contacting me until this b---h signed a bout agreement," Woodley added. "Never thought he would sign. September/October, I'll get around to exterminating that roach. Let me call the UFC and see what's crackin."

Both Woodley and Covington are coming off losses and looking to rebound.

Covington was felled by Kamaru Usman in a title fight back in December, while Woodley lost to Gilbert Burns back in May.

With this kind of build up, it would be wise for them to come to an agreement and hop on the earliest fight card possible.


Masvidal vs. Usman

The dust hasn't even settled on UFC 251 and Masvidal is already clamoring for a rematch with Usman.

The latter emerged victorious over the former to retain the welterweight title in a much-ballyhooed bout held on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this past weekend.

Usman won via unanimous decision, leaving Masvidal with an unexpected loss and a burning desire to self-correct.

"I want that damn belt, and I'm stubborn," Masvidal told ESPN's Ariel Helwani. "And I know I'm better than Usman, and I want to prove it. I want to fight again. I'm not going to take nothing from him; he won the first one. Let's do it again."

Doing it again wouldn't exactly be a bad idea, either.

Fans were overwhelmingly excited about the matchup on Fight Island, propelling an estimated 1.3 million per-per-view buys.

It was the most PPV buys since 2018's UFC 229, which featured Khabib Nurmagomedov and Connor McGregor.

The comparison to that fight is both figurative and literal.

The figurative part is that Masvidal's own bout with Usman came close to that fight's 2.4 million PPV buys and a rematch could even rival it or surpass it, if done right.

"We'll talk to [the UFC]," Masvidal said. "I'm sure Usman would be on board, because this is the most money he's made.

"So if he wants to make that big-boy money again, gotta run it back, come on, let's go. So in business, that makes sense. I don't know what his management is thinking or what he's thinking, but obviously that's what I want to do."

The literal part alludes to the fact that White would rather see Masvidal cash in on his popularity and fight McGregor for his next fight.

"You can tell me that McGregor right now would make X, Y, Z dollars, the biggest pay-per-view you get in history, right, and I'm going to get paid forever," Masvidal said. "I feel I'm getting compensated well enough now that if I keep making the right decisions I've been doing, this money is forever money. So it's not about money."

Masvidal is right, it's not necessarily about money.

It's about who is deserving, but that might not be who he thinks it is.

According to Ali Abdelaziz, Usman's manager, it's Gilbert Burns or maybe even Leon Edwards who deserves the next title shot, not Masvidal.

"I'm not going to be judging anybody," Masvidal said. "Is Gilbert good? Yes. Is Leon good? Yes. These guys are good, but I'm going to vote for myself. I want to fight Usman next."


Is Lipski Still the Violence Queen?

To put it mildly, Lipski's UFC career has been inauspicious.

She beat Isabela de Padua via unanimous decision back in November but lost her first two UFC fights before that.

That doesn't exactly spell dominance in the Octagon.

Now that she's heading into her next bout against fellow flyweight Luana Carolina at UFC on ESPN+ 30 on Fight Island this Saturday, she wants to reclaim her nickname, "The Violence Queen."

That moniker was well-deserved during her stint with KSW, where she racked up nine straight wins (three via TKO and two by KO).

If she wants to have UFC fans recognize her handle, she's going to have to start winning by knockout.

"What I really, really want for this fight is to win by KO," Lipski told reporters. "I've been missing this, and I will try for this since the start of the fight I will try to finish the fight, because this is my style. I will be prepared for three rounds, for a war, but after that, I'm looking for the rankings and I have to talk with my coach, my manager and I'm looking toward the rankings."

Lipski, who recently signed a new four-fight contract partly thanks to her popularity, will have her hands full with Carolina, who has an impressive sobriquet of her own: Dread.

She has less experience than Lipski, but she's got an impressive record (6-1) and hasn't dropped a fight since losing to Daiane Firmino back in 2015.

Carolina is a known striker, so if Lipski wants to get her full swagger back, she's going to have to match her strike for strike and knock her out for the win.

"I can see me winning this fight by KO," Lipski said. "I really want this, I will try this. Maybe it can happen by submission because I improved a lot my MMA game, but if it doesn't happen I don't care. I will be prepared to show how much I have improved, I will fight with my heart. I will push hard since the beginning to the end."


Follow Maurice on Twitter, @ReeseReport


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