Fights To Make At: Welterweight – Burns Vs. Covington

With the coronavirus seemingly ending fight cards for the next few months, there appears to be some time to plan ahead. The UFC has been adamant about keeping the show going, no matter the cost. They proved that last weekend at UFC Brasilia, when fighters competed against one another inside an empty arena.

Two fighters earned Performance of the Night bonuses, with one moving closer to a title shot. Gilbert Burns knocked out Demian Maia in the very first round of their contest. The co-main event, Burns (18-3) managed to show the world just how smooth he is, with six wins via knockout and eight via submission. A shot to the chin followed by a barrage of shots made it an easy night for Burns over Maia.

With the win, Burns won his fifth in a row and seventh of his last eight. Following the bout, Burns called out a fighter in Colby Covington, who has gotten under the skin of everyone around him, including the Brazilian people.

”Now, I say I’m going to beat you the f*ck up, motherf*cker,” Burns stated to MMA Fighting. “You’re going to eat those words, and you’re going to pay an expensive price for them,” Burns said. “I’m coming for you.”

”He has to – he has no option. Colby’s next. He’s talking so much. He’s not backing it up, and I’m coming for him.”

While Covington hasn’t directly spoken about him, Burns has not liked how the former interim Welterweight Champion has talked about people from Brazil. With Burns (12) beating Maia (5) and potentially moving up in the UFC’s welterweight rankings, he has a chance to face the second-ranked fighter in the division. The next fight to make at welterweight is Burns v. Covington. 

After terrorizing the welterweight division for years, both in the octagon and on the mic, Covington (15-2) won the interim title by beating Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 225. One of the high points of his career was when he called Brazilians animals after beating Maia back in 2017. Getting trash thrown onto him, everyone wanted a piece of Covington. Covington later beat Robbie Lawler with ease in order to face Kamaru Usman at UFC 245 in December. With an apparent broken jaw, Covington lost to Usman via TKO in a war that lasted five rounds.

Following the bout, Covington has been biding his time. He requested to face Tyron Woodley at UFC London after Dan White asked fighters to be available following Leon Edwards’ dismissal from the event. This was due to the coronavirus outbreak forcing a travel ban, among other things. Eventually, the fight card got canceled altogether. Edwards and Woodley are expected to face one another sometime in the future.

That leaves Covington without a dance partner. Jorge Masvidal might be busy with Usman in the summer, while other fighters like Michael Chiesa, Rafael Dos Anjos and Stephen Thompson are not on a streak like Burns is. In order to get his luster back, wouldn’t a fight against Burns be the best option?

Burns could end up moving up the rankings and take Maia’s spot. A true test for him would be Covington, with a fight in either Brazil or New York City an option. Following Maia’s career for a long time, a win over Covington could help Burns avenge the loss Maia suffered, a fight in which started the rise of the Covington problem.

A medalist in grappling, Burns’ style would do well against the wrestler, brawler and D1 All-American in Covington. Add the blood rivalry that could end up getting out of control and this is the perfect matchup for the UFC to make.

The UFC could weight months for this match to happen depending on the coronavirus situation. Perhaps that is best for business, not only for the health of others but to get the buildup for this fight in motion.

Is Burns-Covington the best option for the UFC, and if so, where and when? 

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