UFC interim welterweight champion Colby Covington is as polarizing as UFC fighters get. Whether you love him or hate him, however, you’re likely to tune into his fights, which means his schtick is working.
In the eyes of current Bellator star Chael Sonnen, one of MMA’s most legendary heels, we’re likely to see many fighters attempt to follow in Covington’s footsteps going forward — not just in terms of Covington’s bad guy gimmick, but in terms of his ceaseless self promotion.
“In many ways, he’s going to reinvent the sport,” Sonnen told Luke Thomas on The MMA Hour this week (transcribed by Jesse Holland for MMAMania). “People are going to start copying him. He’s the first guy to come out and go, ‘Look, I’m just looking to entertain you. If the UFC isn’t going to bring me cameras, I’ll hire my own production crew, I’ll pay them, but I’m going to get this content recorded and out to the masses.’”
Colby Covington last fought in June, when he defeated former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision to capture the UFC interim welterweight belt. He can now look forward to a title unifying showdown with undisputed champ Tyron Woodley sometime later this year — perhaps in November in New York City.
As Sonnen implies, Colby Covington’s bad guy act has worked very well. That said, the interim welterweight champion recently divulged that he might turn face ahead of his fight with Woodley, just so the fans have somebody to root for.
“No one cares about Woodley,” Covington said on the latest episode of BJPENN.COM Radio. “People say they don’t like his fight style ’cause he is the human form of NyQuil, and that’s why we call him Ty-Quil. And no one wants to watch him fight. He’s not a draw, he’s boring. So don’t worry, I’m gonna relieve him as the most boring fighter of all time, and send him to the retirement home.”
“Absolutely, this is probably gonna be the fight where I come out as the babyface, ’cause just look at Tyron Woodley. He makes a fool of himself anytime he opens his mouth.”
Do you think we’ll start seeing fighters attempting to emulate Colby Covington?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/17/2018.