Two-time UFC welterweight title challenger Colby Covington made a surprise appearance at today’s UFC 286 early (and official) weigh ins, tipping the scale at 170 pounds to cement himself as the official backup fighter for tomorrow night’s (Sat., March 18, 2023) championship main event at The O2 in London.

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CHAMPIONSHIP TRILOGY! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to The O2 in London England, on Sat., March 18, 2023, with newly-minted Welterweight kingpin, Leon Edwards, running it back with former 170-pound champion, Kamaru Usman, for a third (and likely final) time. In UFC 286’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, all-action Lightweight knockout artists, Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev, will lock horns with the winner inching closer to a future Lightweight title shot.

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“Chaos” will probably spend the entire pay-per-view (PPV) card on the sidelines because both welterweight champion Leon Edwards and former 170-pound titleholder Kamaru Usman made weight, so the card will proceed as scheduled unless a late illness or some other bizarre circumstance comes into play.

It happens, which is why the promotion regularly books backup fighters.

“It speaks volumes about the character of Colby Covington,” former middleweight champion and current cageside commentator Michael Bisping said. “It’s so hard to come here and train, do a weight cut for a fight that isn’t guaranteed and probably 99.9 percent not gonna happen. But it shows such mental toughness. You’ve said to the UFC, I’m that guy, I’m dependable, put me up next because I’m here, I’m ready, and I’m willing.”

Here’s some of Twitter’s top reactions:

Colby Covington being a back up fighter is about as exciting as weigh ins can get. Did not have that in my bingo cards this year. I did have “Khamzat misses weight at 185” though.

— Joshua Sia (@Slayer_Tip) March 17, 2023

Colby Covington showing up for 2 minutes has been the biggest story of Fight Week. Shows you who the real star of WW division is. Send Usman home, make Leon vs Colby. Let’s save this PPV & give the people what they want.

— Paulimedov.♤ (@MMAPauli) March 17, 2023

I have a strange feeling that the main event of UFC 286 will fall off and Colby Covington will fight in the main event

— Shah (@dobronxt) March 17, 2023

ohh my fuckinggg goodness COLBY COVINGTON is the backup fighter?!!!! hell yeahhhhhhhh #UFC #UFC286 i’m honestly more excited to see him fight usman once more, but this time, LIVE at the O2 arena :DD

— Zorin (@Zorin_6) March 17, 2023

I can’t believe #colby Covington actually made weight as back up fighter. Hate him or love him, that was a brilliant move by him. He’s def next! If Leon wins or Usman retires, Colby is right there.

— C.J’S daddy (@MikeSwags) March 17, 2023

I can’t believe I woke up to see Colby Covington weigh-in is a backup fighter for two guys who have literally never missed weight… People were telling me he couldn’t fight ‘cuz of his court case with Masvidal but CLEARLY that was some bullshit, what is this guy doing

— TevTalksMMA (@TevTalksMMA) March 17, 2023

I have the same amount of top 10 WW wins as Colby Covington

— MMA FUN GUY (@MMAFUNGUY1) March 17, 2023

We need to stop giving Colby Covington opportunities like this.

MMA’s biggest mistake was letting people like Colby infiltrate the rankings of 170 and just stall his ranking for the past 3 years.


— (@FightDoctor_) March 17, 2023

Colby Covington going to walkout with that flag fuck a rule. We’re ready for Americas Champs return

— C (@cass_mars) March 13, 2023

Since Colby Covington weighed in as backup anyway they should have just booked him and Belal Muhammad to fight on this card

— Super Fan (@McGregorRousey) March 17, 2023

Colby Covington weighing in as backup is a big dick move.

I respect it.

— (@WonderbreadMMA) March 17, 2023

That joker has 1 win over a ranked opponent. Everyone else retired. He’s not even top 10 imo

— Anthropos (@MMAnthropology) March 17, 2023

No word yet on why the promotion has been unable to book a fight for Covington, 35, since his unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal last year in Las Vegas. It’s also unclear as to who will get the winner of Edwards vs. Usman 3 when “Chaos” has No. 2-ranked Khamzat Chimaev and No. 3-ranked Belal Muhammed nipping at his heels.

Stay tuned, sounds like a lot of welterweight plans are in the works.

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. For the updated and finalized UFC 286 fight card and PPV lineup click here.