Colby Covington's manager Dan Lambert wasn't surprised when the UFC pressured his client to fight Robbie Lawler instead of Kamaru Usman.
"I guess the only guarantee in this business is there are no guarantees right?" Lambert told theScore on Tuesday. "I actually had lunch with Colby a few days ago. He was confirming the Nov. 2 fight (with Kamaru Usman) was still on, and wanted to make sure everything was a go. I told him it was a go, it was promised. That's what we were told would happen."
Despite that guarantee, Covington vs. Lawler will now feature as the main event at UFC on ESPN 5, which takes place Aug. 3 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
"The only caveat was I knew (the UFC) was anxious to fill a void on an Aug. 3 show, it's a big ESPN show," Lambert said. "I knew some of the main events they were targeting did not come through. I had a feeling he would get a phone call and that call came last night. Sometimes they make an offer you can't refuse or a demand you can't refuse."
Covington (14-1) hasn't competed since June 2018 when he won the interim welterweight title, defeating Rafael Dos Anjos by unanimous decision at UFC 225. But "Chaos" was stripped of his title earlier this year and Kamaru Usman claimed the belt after the promotion awarded him a title shot against Tyron Woodley at UFC 235. According to Lambert, the UFC never contacted Covington about removing his interim championship.
"I've never even got legal notice he was stripped," Lambert said. "As of a month ago he was listed on their website as interim champion. So I don't know. Dana (White) made his position pretty clear about it in some media scrums he did. It is what it is."
Lawler (28-13) previously trained at American Top Team but now calls rival gym Hardknocks 365 home. Covington's a mainstay at ATT and Lambert said the two welterweights occasionally trained together in the past.
"Colby and Robbie trained (together)," Lambert explained. "I'm sure they're both going to have little things that they learned when they did train with each other. I'm sure some stuff will come up at least on Colby's side ... but no they weren't constant training partners."
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