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Report: Colby Covington vs. Rafael dos Anjos set for interim title at UFC 224

UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has repeatedly targeted a return to the octagon in July at UFC 226. Among several potential opponents, he’s named ex-lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos as the most deserving contender for his belt.

But according to a new report, the promotion wants dos Anjos (28-9 MMA, 17-7 UFC) vying for UFC gold of the interim type – against an opponent Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) doesn’t think is worthy of a title shot.

The UFC is working on an interim UFC welterweight title bout between dos Anjos and Colby Covington (13-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) for UFC 224, which takes place May 12 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, per a report from BJPenn.com. The event’s main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

MMAjunkie has not been able to verify the matchup, which per the report hasn’t finalized as of yet. A rep for Covington declined comment on the report and dos Anjos and his rep didn’t respond to a request for comment. A UFC official said via text “nothing official yet” when asked about the matchup.

If confirmed, the fight would fulfill dos Anjos and Covington’s long-held wish to fight for the UFC welterweight title. The fighters have repeatedly called for a title shot while Woodley has indicated there aren’t any worthy contenders.

In a January interiew with MMAjunkie, Woodley admitted dos Anjos is “probably the closest” to a title shot. But he preferred matchups against proven UFC draws such as Nate Diaz (19-11 MMA, 14-9 UFC), Georges St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) and Conor McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC).

Fights against lesser-known commodities, he said, weren’t of interest.

“I’ve earned my position, even before the UFC in Strikeforce,” Woodley said. “Name the last easy fight I ever had. I’ve been fighting killers, former champions, former title contenders, and that’s been my road to the top. So if these guys want to make me interested, they need to win a little bit more. They need to make their resume a little bit stronger.”

Dos Anjos, of course, has an extremely strong resume in the lightweight division, where he won the UFC title before losing it to Eddie Alvarez in 2016. He then moved up to welterweight and has won three straight fights, including a recent decision over ex-champ Robbie Lawler.

Along the way, he’s endured plenty of insults and slights from Covington, who’s repeatedly called him out for a fight. Covington went so far as to troll dos Anjos with a phony email indicating he was ducking a fight and even implied he was a drug cheat.

For his part, dos Anjos has shrugged off the insults and directed his attention at Woodley, as did Covington after he was unable to entice dos Anjos to fight.

Covington, who this past October outpointed Demian Maia for a career-high win, warned the UFC that booking Woodley vs. dos Anjos would be a flop at the box office. Now, he gets a chance to prove he’ll do better.

For more on UFC 224, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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