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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
MMA Junkie Staff

Spinning Back Clique: UFC 286 fallout for Edwards, Covington and Usman, plus Conor vs. USADA

Check out this week’s “Spinning Back Clique,” MMA Junkie’s weekly live show that takes a spin through the biggest topics in mixed martial arts. This week’s panel of Farah Hannoun, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Mike Bohn will join host “Gorgeous” George Garcia live at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) to discuss and debate:

  • Leon Edwards retained his welterweight title in a trilogy rematch with former champ Kamaru Usman in the UFC 286 main event. The win was a majority decision for Edwards in front of his home fans in London. Did the judges get it right? And what was the difference in this rematch compared to Edwards’ late Hail Mary knockout win this past August?
  • After Edwards’ win, UFC president Dana White said his next title challenger will be former interim champion Colby Covington, who was in London as a backup fighter for the main event. White said Covington is most deserving of the shot despite contenders like Belal Muhammad on a nine-fight winning streak stretching out four years. The upcoming Gilbert Burns-Jorge Masvidal winner might have something to say, too. So what is the right move at welterweight for the UFC?
  • Justin Gaethje was a fairly sizable underdog in the UFC 286 lightweight co-main event against Rafael Fiziev. But Gaethje took it to Fiziev throughout the fight, and while he took damage himself, he dished out a lot more and got his hand raised. Afterward, he admitted he doesn’t have a lot of fights left – but that he wants another title run. Can he still become a champ?
  • The main event welterweight title fight and co-main event lightweight contenders bout at UFC 286 definitely produced an exciting and intriguing cap to the card in London. But outside of those obvious fights, who stood out as the biggest star of the night at The O2?
  • Former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor has wrapped his coaching stint on Season 31 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” and now we’ll await the show’s broadcast run – and news of an eventual booking between McGregor and fellow coach Michael Chandler. One of the complicated issues is that McGregor exited the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s drug testing pool. The UFC’s rules say a fighter must be back in the pool for six months before a fight and have two clean tests. But McGregor is under the impression he just needs two clean tests – and the UFC will make an exception for him. USADA disagrees. It’s starting to get messy, and to top it all off, Dana White said he wanted nothing to do with any drug testing conversations and he doesn’t care about that stuff anymore – which some could argue smacked of setting up a case for plausible deniability if there’s outrage if McGregor doesn’t have to follow the same USADA rules as other fighters. So just what the heck do we make of all this?

“Spinning Back Clique” is released each Monday LIVE on MMA Junkie’s YouTube channel. You can watch this week’s episode in the video above.

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