Inside Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on March 5, Covington accomplished a lot. Not only did he successfully rebound from a second loss to Kamaru Usman, but he also cemented his #1 spot at 170 pounds, emerged victorious in a bitter grudge match with former teammate Jorge Masvidal, and added a third name to his list of beaten ATT foes.
As his push for a third crack at dethroning “The Nigerian Nightmare” gets underway, Covington has his next rival in mind. Unsurprisingly, it’s another with a built-in backstory that would allow for his usual level of insults and trash talk.
In his Octagon interview with Joe Rogan, Covington made it clear he wanted Poirier next. At the post-fight press conference, “Chaos” hammered the point home by indulging in his usual personal attacks on the Louisianan and his family.
In the aftermath, the fanbase has been largely split. While some have praised the move and called for Poirier to accept the fight, others, including Usman, who is arguably the man who matters most, have suggested a victory over Poirier would do nothing to further Covington’s cause in the welterweight division.
Nevertheless, Covington will at least have the support of one fellow wrestling extraordinaire.
Askren Credits Covington For “Great Callout”
During an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Ben Askren, a former Bellator and ONE welterweight titleholder, gave his assessment of Covington’s decision to call out Poirier over any of his fellow 170-pound contenders.
Praising it as a “great” move, “Funky” described a Poirier fight as one that would generate high interest, but would also be low risk. For Askren, that should always be the goal when targeting opponents.
“Great callout. Because it’s a fight that—obviously, (from) in the gym, he probably knows he’s really, really likely to win,” said Askren. “Poirier is probably a top-10 name in the UFC at this point given the fact that he’s beaten McGregor twice. So, huge name, easy win. You can’t ask for anything better than that, right?
“If Dustin loses, he kind of looks like a chicken. Colby also can’t call anyone out above him because he’s had two shots at Marty (Usman), so it’s gonna take him a while to get that shot,” added Askren. “Dana said he can get that shot again, but it’s gonna take a little bit; it’s not gonna happen right away. So it’s like, who else you gonna call out?”
When asked whether Covington would be better served requesting the victor of UFC 273’s Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev clash, Askren noted that a contest against either man, especially a victorious “Borz,” would pose a lot more risk for the former interim champion.
“Big attention, easy win, that’s what you want. Neither one of those guys, yet, is as popular as Poirier… It’s also really risky (fighting Chimaev if he beats Burns). Burns is good. So, if he beats Burns, he’s really good, too. I think Covington went the right way with that one,” Askren concluded.
As Covington’s tear through his group of former ATT teammates continues, Poirier is in his crosshairs. However, while “The Diamond” maintains that “it’s on sight” if he sees the controversial welterweight, he’s consistently asserted that a collision inside the Octagon is never going to happen.
With that in mind, Covington’s post-fight callout doesn’t seem likely to bear the fruits “Chaos” was hoping for. Therefore, the 34-year-old may need to turn his attention to Burns vs. Chimaev after all.
Do you agree with Ben Askren? Was Dustin Poirier the smart callout for Colby Covington to make?