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Former UFC interim welterweight champion Colby Covington has been absent from the UFC cage for the best part of a year but his exodus from action looks set to be coming to an end after reports emerged that organisation is close to announcing a bout between Covington and former champion Robbie Lawler to headline the August 3 card in Newark, New Jersey.

Covington earned his last win in August of last year, beating former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos to take his career record to 14-1. A title shot against then-champ Tyron Woodley appeared to be next but injuries suffered by the American meant that Darren Till was drafted in to face Woodley for the title last September — a fight that the Brit lost by second round submission. Woodley has since lost the championship to Kamaru Usman.

The identity of the next title challenger at 170-pounds is a hot topic. Covington and Ben Askren have both stated their claims, and with Askren set to face Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 on Saturday week it seemed as though he may eek out in front in the championship merry-go-round. However, Covington will have his opportunity to state his case in early August, per a report by ESPN.

Lawler’s last fight was a brief but exciting bout with Askren, which saw Lawler slam his opponent early and attempt to finish with strikes on the ground. Askren would reverse and apply a bulldog choke which prompted a stoppage from the referee, though Lawler protested vociferously at the decision.

A win for Lawler against his former American Top Team training partner would re-establish his own title aspirations as Covington’s expense but one thing appears for certain — the welterweight title picture will surely have a bit more clarity come early August.