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So now what?
“Chaos” reigned on Saturday as he took a lopsided unanimous decision in the UFC 272 main event, utilizing pressure striking and wrestling to hand Masvidal a third straight loss. With both men having twice fallen to welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, it’s unclear where they head next in the division, and UFC President Dana White said as much when asked about the fighters at the evening’s post-fight press conference.
“I don’t know, that’s a good question,” White said. “We knew tonight, whoever lost, ‘What would be next?’ and ‘Where would they go?’ And I don’t know, sitting right here, right now, I don’t know. On either one of them, even Colby, who won.”
One notion on which White was willing to agree is that Covington remains a standout in the UFC, both for his in-cage dominance (Covington has won nine of his past 11 fights with his only two losses being to Usman) and his polarizing personality.
Every aspect of the Covington brand was on full display for UFC 272 from fight week to fight night and White believes people are just going to have to accept him for what he is.
“The thing is too is that after a while no matter how much you hate him, you’ve at least got to respect him,” White said. “The guy keeps winning fights and he’s a tough dude.”
“I don’t know if I’ve had any bad words to say about him,” White continued when asked about past criticism of Covington. “I said he’s an a******. He’s an a******. Anybody disagree with that? He would probably even agree with that. No, I respect the kid.”
Other than questioning Covington’s “man code” in relation to the fighter’s questionable promotional tactics, which has included personal insults aimed at the families of his opponents, White is optimistic that there are more big fights ahead for Covington.
Former UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier was the name that Covington called out in his post-fight victory speech, an idea that White isn’t against even if it doesn’t make Covington’s future any clearer.
“I don’t know, he’s in a very weird situation having lost to Usman twice,” White said. “Usman’s lapping everybody. I don’t know, we’ve got to see what’s next and talk to Colby and see what he really wants to do. You fight Poirier and then what? He has to go in some type of direction whether he’s gonna go to ‘55 and fight at—I don’t know, we gotta talk.”
“Listen, if he stays at 170, he keeps winning, you’ve eventually got to give the kid a shot [at Usman] again,” White added.
Figuring out what’s next for the slumping Masvidal is even more difficult. The “BMF” champion recently turned 37 and Saturday’s main event marked the 51st bout of his professional career.
Earlier this week, Masvidal’s management announced that the fighter had signed a lucrative new deal with the UFC that makes him one of the its “top five highest paid” fighters. It’s clear that promotion is committed to “Gamebred,” but that doesn’t mean that White has an idea of what’s next for him.
“We don’t think that far ahead,” White said. “We sign the kid and you never know what the hell—It’s like you guys will ask me every f****** press conference what’s gonna happen after this? I don’t know. I have to see how the fight plays out. What kind of a fight is it, how did it go? And then I decide with the team what’s gonna happen next.”