UFC 272: How did Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington go from friends to enemies?

Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington will finally lock horns at UFC 272 on March 5.

The welterweight grudge match will headline the event taking place in Paradise, Nevada. Fans speculated about a potential fight since news broke out about their dramatic falling-out.

Now, the reputations of both fighters are on the line.

Jorge Masvidal (35-15) has not stepped into the ring since his knockout loss to Kamaru Usman at UFC 261 in April 2021. Although he is still No. 6 in the welterweight rankings, Masvidal hasn’t won a fight since November 2019.

Colby Covington’s last night in the octagon was also ruined by Usman, who defeated him by unanimous decision at UFC 268 last November. That bout was a rematch of Usman’s victory at UFC 245 by TKO.

Still unbeaten in the UFC, the Nigerian Nightmare has proven to be at least one tier above Masvidal and Covington.

UFC 272: What went wrong between Masvidal and Covington?

Usman is only one of many common denominators between the pair. Both fighters were close friends for a while, and they even lived together while they were training partners at American Top Team.

However, they fell out over money in 2018, with Covington allegedly refusing to pay one of Masvidal’s coaches after winning the interim welterweight title.

Masvidal and Covington have drastically different personalities. The latter has been prone to taking shots at his former teammate on social media, calling him “dumb and desperate”.

On the contrary, Masvidal has decried trash talk, deeming it childlike and unnecessary. In an interview with MMA Junkie, the wrestler slammed Covington’s penchant for instigating unnecessary drama.

“I get it – the 17-year-olds are (expletive) eating this (expletive) up, and maybe a little bit older than that – maybe some people never got out of high school,” he said.

“Colby’s a particular case because we’ve been friends for a long time. So it’s more than just teammates – we’re good friends, and he’s doing his thing. Am I a fan of that? I mean, whatever – it’s not really what I care for. Everybody’s doing it.”

Who will the winner fight?

Some fans will want to see the winner fighting Usman again. The Nigerian Nightmare hasn’t had a bout scheduled for this year yet, and his history with both fighters would help the UFC push a straightforward revenge narrative.

However, Masvidal and Covington haven’t really been competitive against Usman. Personal narratives aside, a potential trilogy bout between either of them and Usman wouldn’t be particularly exciting.

A third fight against Usman looks highly unlikely for either, at least for now. In an interview with ESPN, the Nigerian-American wrestler said that he would only give Masvidal another chance if “he went out and got some wins over top contenders”:

“If he went out and did the right things, then yes, I think I would consider it. If he went out and got some wins over top contenders and really showed the world that he is still able to compete, then, of course, I’ll give him another shot. You know, maybe he had a bad day the last fight.”

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That leaves us with one logical choice: a from-the-off rematch between the two friends-turned-enemies.

Masvidal and Covington might not be at the peak of their careers, but their personal history means that millions of fans will be glued to their screens during UFC 272.

Featured image credit: Getty