The rumors are true!

Former interim Welterweight champion, Colby Covington, is the official backup for Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman at UFC 286, which takes place this weekend (Sat., March 18, 2023) inside The O2 in London, England.

Word started getting out on Thursday evening that “Chaos” might be in overseas preparing to weigh-in just in case any issues arose and “Rocky” or “Nigerian Nightmare” had to bow out. UFC did such a good job of keeping Covington’s status a secret that even the two main event fighters said this was the first they were hearing about it.

And now it’s confirmed: Covington stepped onto the scale Friday morning, weighing in at championship weight: 170 pounds on the dot with the aid of UFC’s modesty cube.

Watch “Chaos” do the deed below:

It’s unclear why there’s been so much secrecy surrounding Covington’s role as a backup.

Typically fighters in the backup role are picked weeks out, although recently there have been situations where two fighters have claimed to be the back up. Indeed, leading up to UFC 280’s Oliveira vs. Makhachev event, Beneil Dariush claimed UFC had dubbed him the official backup, only for Alexander Volkanovski to usurp the role.

It will be interesting to learn how this Covington situation developed, and how long UFC has been planning this. The 170-pound limit isn’t an easy target for most top-level Welterweight contenders to hit, so we’re assuming this has been in the works for awhile and not a last-minute scramble because one of the two UFC 286 headliners is injured and might pull out (although Kamaru Usman was seen with a hand brace leading into the announcement of this event).

Covington hasn’t competed since a March 2022 win over Jorge Masvidal, which was followed soon after by Masvidal sucker punching him outside a restaurant in Miami Beach, Florida (watch it). Covington pressed charges and then disappeared out of the public eye. The once omnipresent loudmouth got very quiet indeed, only making his contractually-obligated sponsor posts on social media.

When asked at press conferences, UFC President, Dana White, has said Covington was ready to fight and just waiting for something to come together. It doesn’t seem like he’ll be needed after Usman and Edwards both made weight and are looking good.

But, White wasn’t lying: the No. 2-ranked Welterweight is looking very ready to fight.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 286 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 286: “Edwards vs. Usman 3” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.