A closer look at Colby Covington vs. Robbie Lawler
Sport is all about seeing the best against the best but in a business, which is as entangled with human nature as fighting, the simple art of sportsmanship sometimes isn’t enough to attract spectators.
Similar to a motion picture, one of the driving forces of the UFC’s promotion is narratives. Grudge matches captivate audiences, but sometimes all that is needed is a battle between a fan favourite and a pantomime villain.
At UFC Newark we have a matchup that fits this very description. Colby Covington is one of the most controversial athletes in the world of sport. A man, who has described the Brazilian people as “filthy animals”, who dedicates his political allegiance to Donald Trump, proudly wearing his ‘Make America great again baseball cap’ and who strolls around with glamorous women, hired to be on his arm, Covington has intentionally found himself as one of the most talked-about athletes in the company.
The same can’t be said for his opponent, Robbie Lawler, where the reality is, in fact, quite the opposite. ‘Ruthless’ is up there with the most popular competitors in the company’s history. Lawler has been a classy operator outside of the cage; however, his humble nature doesn’t prevent him from producing electrifying performances in the octagon.
This fight couldn’t be more intriguing with the winner likely to receive a shot at the welterweight world title.
Covington has been inactive for over a year since he defeated Rafael Dos Anjos for the interim title (a belt he was stripped of) in a career-best performance where he displayed his elite wrestling alongside impressive cardio. Disputes with the company have left him sidelined and it’ll be interesting to see whether his absence from the cage will have had a negative impact.
Lawler has been around MMA for what feels like forever and it’s incredible that’s he’s remained at world level for such a significant length of time. The former world champion, famous for his incredible wars against Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald, is desperate to make one final run towards a world title.
After a loss to Rafael Dos Anjos, it looked like Lawler’s career may be coming to its end, but against Ben Askren, he looked to be one hundred percent rejuvenated. He came desperately close to causing what would’ve been a monumental upset but ultimately ended up losing in a somewhat controversial fashion.
In Newark, New Jersey fans will see a real collision of villain vs hero. Covington looks to try and continue his contentious rise to fame and bag himself a shot at the full belt, whereas Lawler will strive to excite the crowd and roll back the years one more time.