The illustrious Madison Square Garden, an iconic symbol of sporting grandeur, is gearing up to host yet another electrifying UFC showdown on November 11, 2023. While the towering figure of Jon Jones, the dominant UFC heavyweight champion, prepares to defend his crown against formidable Stipe Miocic, a tempestuous sideshow bubbles under the surface, starring the ever-controversial Colby Covington.
Diving deep into the lore of UFC, one discovers that Jon Jones and Colby Covington weren’t always at odds. Once upon a time, they shared the camaraderie of college roommates, training together and celebrating each other’s victories. Fast forward to the present, and this bond has disintegrated, replaced by a bitter rivalry characterised by scathing words and pointed barbs. Covington, always one to court controversy under his moniker ‘Chaos’, has been unrelenting in his public criticism of Jones, frequently spotlighting his adversary’s off-octagon decisions.
Whispers from the corridors of the UFC suggest that Jones might be flexing his considerable influence. Rumours abound that the heavyweight champion is trying to sidestep sharing the spotlight with Covington at the UFC 295 event. These behind-the-scenes machinations add an extra layer of intrigue to an already tantalising event.
Laying it bare in a candid conversation with Michael Bisping on his YouTube show, Covington presented what he claims is the truth behind the rumours. Painting a vivid picture, he remarked, “A little birdie told me, Michael, that he [Jones] went backstage with the suits and the big dogs of the UFC and said, hey, he refuses to share a card with me.” Pushing the envelope further, he insinuated that the UFC might be receptive to Jones’ requests, emphasising, “They don’t want to ruin their New York show, and they’re still hoping he shows up. But they need a backup plan. He’s not reliable. I’m the ultimate company man.”
However, the narrative grows even murkier when we consider the fate of the much-anticipated face-off between welterweight champion Leon Edwards and challenger Colby Covington. Despite Dana White’s consistent pronouncements that Edwards will defend his belt against Covington, an official date remains elusive. MMA journalist Adam Catterall only added fuel to the fire with a tweet hinting that White may be setting up the Edwards-Covington duel for UFC 295 come November. Speculation had previously placed the bout in the UFC 294 line-up, but with those bouts now confirmed, all eyes are on Madison Square Garden as the potential stage for this welterweight clash.
Covington, for his part, remains unabashed and brimming with confidence. He not only believes in his imminent dominance at UFC 295 but also implies that Jones, given his track record of legal entanglements and controversies, might end up sidelining himself from the main event. If this unexpected twist comes to pass, Covington envisions his title clash against Edwards catapulting to the marquee spot of the night.
Shooting straight from the hip, Covington declared, “They are hoping that he [Jones] still shows up, but they need a backup plan. He’s not reliable. I’m the ultimate company man. When I give my word to the UFC that I’m showing up, I’m showing up… It sucks that Jon doesn’t want to share a card [with me].”
As the clock marches inexorably towards November 11, the anticipation is palpable. The drama unfolding in the run-up to UFC 295 isn’t merely about fights within the octagon but also about power plays, ego clashes, and strategic manoeuvrings behind closed doors. One can’t help but ponder: is this merely about two fighters avoiding each other, or is it a reflection of deeper rifts and long-held grudges within the UFC? How much of this is genuine animosity, and how much is masterful promotion?
All said and done, the build-up to UFC 295 is a masterclass in storytelling, blending combat with drama, and promises to culminate in a night of unforgettable action. The stakes are high, the players are ready, and the world is watching. With every new revelation, with every quote that surfaces, the plot thickens, ensuring that this event will not just be a contest of physical prowess but also a battle of wills, strategy, and influence. Only time will tell who emerges victorious, both in the ring and in the complex game being played outside of it.