Former interim welterweight champ Colby Covington seemed set for a shot at Kamaru Usman's 170-pound belt when the UFC returns to Madison Square Garden in New York City on Nov. 2 for UFC 244. Instead, UFC and both fighters couldn't reach a deal and the headline spot went to Jorge Masvidal vs. Nate Diaz for the self-created "BMF" title.
Speaking on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show on Monday, Covington (15-1) explained where the negotiations went wrong.
"I was ready to fight and the UFC came to me with a basic challenger's offer and I'm a champion," the No. 2 ranked welterweight said. "There was no negotiation. That's not fair negotiating and that's not right. Also, I'm the A side and you can't get the B side done with Usman. Why are you rushing it when you can't get it done with the B side?"
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He continued to express frustrations with the UFC throughout the interview, stating "UFC is playing a game that's not fair" before saying, "I've won a world title and they still treat me like crap."
There were brief flirtations with the idea of putting Masvidal in the challenger role against Usman on the card, but a deal couldn't be reached with the champ for that bout either. The idea of Masvidal jumping him in line for the title fight seemed to bother Covington.
"I mean, it's frustrating. Everybody knows there's only one fight to make, the title unification," Covington said. "It was frustrating, they were moving to someone who was 2-2 and a journeyman."
Covington and Masvidal used to be training partners and friends, but have had a falling out in recent times. Covington claimed the issues dated back to when he defeated Demian Maia in October 2017. Maia had defeated Masvidal earlier in the year and Covington said their issues started out of jealousy after his win over their shared opponent.
The former interim champ also took shots at the idea of the BMF title being on the line when Masvidal fights Diaz.
"My reaction was like, oh, they want to make a BMF title. It's for the JMF title, the journeyman mother effin' title. I'm the BMF. I'm the best ever.
"It ain't gonna sell anything. It ain't gonna sell. Those guys don't sell."