CALGARY, Alberta — Colby Covington won the UFC interim welterweight championship at UFC 225 against Rafael dos Anjos. That was just seven weeks ago. But the UFC is moving forward with the 170-pound division without Covington.
Tyron Woodley will defend his title against Darren Till — not Covington — at UFC 228 on Sept. 8 in Dallas, it was officially announced Tuesday after a report by ESPN. Covington is unable to fight on that date due to recent sinus surgery, ESPN reported.
Rather than waiting for Covington to be champ, the UFC had Woodley available in September and a main event spot open. So, Till will step in and become No. 1 contender. Interim title be damned.
Covington’s coach Mike Brown told MMA Fighting on Wednesday at UFC on FOX 30 open workouts here that Covington’s squad at American Top Team is frustrated by the decision.
“I’m pretty bummed about it,” Brown said. “I just feel like its devaluing the belts. You can’t just make every fight a title fight if it doesn’t go your way. It just doesn’t seem right, it doesn’t seem like it’s good for long-term value for the titles. That’s a big problem. That’s the bottom line, I think they’re devaluing the belts. Everybody sees it.”
Brown said Covington is not very pleased with the Woodley vs. Till matchup, but the coach believes Covington, when healthy, is still next in line for the welterweight title shot.
“He’s of course upset,” Brown said. “But what are you gonna do? Life goes on. Whatever happens, he’s gonna be he biggest fight after this that they’re gonna want to make. What’s next, they want to do it quickly. But after that, there’s gonna be something else that will be next. I think that he’ll be the guy they’ll want to fight the winner, I’m sure. He’s the guy that I think has earned that spot. I think he’s also drawing a lot of attention. I think it’ll also have the best numbers. I’m sure we’ll see it. But it’s just a shame how they’re going about it.”
Woodley and Covington have been warring on social media and in the press for about a year now. The two are former training partners at ATT with wildly divergent interpretations on how their past sparring sessions have gone. The grudge match was shaping up to be a fairly lucrative one. But now Woodley will need to get by Till, who missed weight by three pounds in his last fight, to make it happen.
“I think the bigger fight would have been Colby,” Brown said. “Let it wait a couple months. “Everybody wants that fight. I think Woodley wants the fight, I think Colby wants the fight. I think a couple months later wouldn’t have hurt anything. It’s really frustrating.”