Fighter of the Week: Colby Covington

Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; Colby Covington (blue gloves) ​​​​​reacts after defeating Demian Maia (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
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Colby “Chaos” Covington

Pro Record: 13-1-0

Association: American Top Team

Weight Class: Welterweight

It’s no secret that the media and fans alike crave big fights and large personalities. Well, our Fighter of the Week Colby Covington checks off both those after his win over Demian Maia and his subsequent post-fight interview. Covington didn’t make any friends with the local crowd, or Brazilians worldwide for that matter (including a couple of his American Top Team (ATT) teammates), with his demeaning comments calling Brazil “a dump” and Brazilians “filthy animals”. Of course, there are two sides to every story and Covington explains things that were said to him while he was waiting in the tunnel like “Oh, you’re gonna die” and “I f***ed your Mother” and also stated he had cups and hotdogs thrown at him. Whatever sparked the controversial comments, I highly doubt we’ll see Covington in Brazil again. Let’s take a look at how Covington got here and speculate on where he goes after his win.

Covington started karate and wrestling at a young age, soon after his family moved to Oregon. After winning a state championship in high school as a senior he went on to attend Iowa Central Community College where he won a national championship at 165 lbs. While there, his roommate was former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones. After having some personal issues, Covington went back ‘home’ to Oregon and enrolled at Oregon State University, where he would become an All-American and two-time Pac-10 champion. He would also earn his Bachelors degree in Sociology from the University.

As far as his transition into MMA from wrestling, during an interview with The Takeover in May 2017 Covington said fighting “was just inside of me” and fighters are born that way. After a couple of amateur MMA fights in Oregon Covington reached out to ATT and they flew him out after watching some of his college wrestling videos. Covington said they threw him in to train with Thiago Alves (while he was training for his fight with Georges St. Pierre at UFC 100) among others. Apparently, ATT liked what they saw as ATT co-founder Dan Lambert brought Covington back and said they’d like him to start training and representing ATT while offering him a place to stay and some money for food and essentials. Since his time at ATT Covington has made no secret of his success during sparring with teammates and ex-teammates, even calling out ex-UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, implying he dominated both while training. Covington also expresses frustration with so many fighters turning down fights with him

Covington’s keys to success in the cage are obvious. He wants to take you down and ground-and-pound you. At UFC 194, his opponent used Warlley Alves used that aggression to his favor catching Covington in a guillotine choke during a takedown and forcing Covington to tap in the first round. This, to date, is the lone blemish on Covington’s record. Covington would follow up the loss with four straight wins, including a win over highly respected welterweight Dong Hyun Kim, to set up a step up in competition and a fight with former title challenger, Demian Maia.

Covington made it clear pre-fight that he respected Maia but the fight would finish in the first round. To the surprise of many, Covington stayed true to his word standing with Maia and throwing haymakers trying to knock out his opponent. Covington didn’t seem interested in utilizing his wrestling, instead quite the opposite, stuffing numerous takedown attempts by Maia in an effort to stay off the ground and away from the dangerous Brazilian jiu-jitsu game of Maia. While Maia showed heart and some improved striking, it was all Covington, who bloodied Maia and won by unanimous decision.

Covington’s post-fight comments may have overshadowed his win, however. I said in last week’s FOTW article on Darren Till that he does not lack confidence. Well, Covington may have Till beat in that department. After his callout of an entire country and their people, he didn’t back down when leaving the country. ATT Brazilian fighters Amanda Nunes and Antonio Silva both took exception to Covington’s comments. Covington responded in typical fashion saying he doesn’t care if he offended his teammates and that MMA is not a “team sport”. ATT coach and co-founder Ricardo Liborio also condemned Covington’s comments and announced he was leaving the team, although his departure is not believed to be related to this. Covington also hasn’t made any fans with ex-teammates either calling Tyron Woodley a “fraud”. As stated previously, in an interview with The Takeover, Covington claimed he dominated Woodley in training. Woodley has since called Covington “an idiot” and has stated that he was the one dominating in practice. One thing’s for certain, this was a huge win for Covington and propels another contender in an already stacked division. As our own Bryant Jenkins wrote (http://themmatakeover.com/fallout-covingtons-treatment-of-brazil/), the UFC is reviewing the comments and some form of discipline could be handed down stating “We are taking the situation with Colby Covington very seriously. It’s going to be reviewed by our code of conduct committee and it’s something we are not very happy about.”

Takeover’s Keith Shillan likes Covington for the Lawler-dos Anjos loser since Dana White already announced the winner would get a title shot with Woodley (http://themmatakeover.com/whos-next-playing-matchmaker-ufc-sao-paulo-fighters/). What do you think, Takeover fans?

If you would like to catch our interview with Covington from May 2017, click on this link: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ywlhUkehNw)

 

 

 

 

 

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