Everyone is frustrated by the UFC welterweight title situation


Behind-the-scenes negotiations for the next UFC welterweight title fight are increasingly spilling into public view, and a solution appears nowhere near the horizon.

The only thing certain is that UFC President Dana White is frustrated by champ Tyron Woodley (19-3-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) timetable for return and promising forward movement at whatever cost.

Kamaru Usman (14-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC) and his manager claim to have already signed a bout agreement for a March 2 showdown with Woodley at UFC 235 in Las Vegas. Woodley begs to differ, though, and won’t sign off on a fight with Usman.

Colby Covington (14-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC), who is Woodley’s first choice and the longtime No. 1 contender, appears to be on the verge of losing his spot. Multiple people close to him, who requested anonymity because of ongoing fight negotiations, described a nightmare behind the scenes.

The sources said Covington twice accepted title bouts, first in November against Woodley and then Nick Diaz, and then again against Woodley on the scratched UFC 233 card on Jan. 26 in Anaheim, Calif. With the champ not cleared to fight, though, the UFC offered a bout with Usman at UFC on ESPN+ 1 on Jan. 19 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Fearing a Jan. 19 fight could leave him unable to make a quick turnaround for Woodley’s planned return at UFC 235, Covington turned down the fight, and sources indicate he has yet to hear back from the promotion.

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