The second half of 2018 and beginning of 2019 isn’t looking to be going the way that top UFC welterweight Colby Covington was hoping it would.
In June 2018 at UFC 225, Covington won the interim welterweight title by defeating Rafael Dos Anjos via unanimous decision. Thus, presumably, setting him up for a guaranteed clash with the undisputed champion Tyron Woodley. You know… As interim titles generally do.
Instead, Covington won’t be getting the next shot at Woodley. It will be going to Kamaru Usman as he challenges Woodley at UFC 235 in March.
Since Woodley’s last title defense at UFC 228 against Darren Till, a fight that also was believed to be Covington’s, Woodley and the outspoken American Top Team product have gone back and forth trying to get a fight date set with nothing ever coming to fruition.
“I was ready to fight in January in California [at UFC 233] and fight Woodley then,” Covington told MMAFighting. “I was ready to fight in November. The only time I couldn’t fight is back in September in Dallas [at UFC 228], but I couldn’t fight because they offered me the fight on six weeks’ [notice] and I was already getting nose surgery. I couldn’t breathe out of my nose. I had mucus and blood draining down my nose into my lungs. I mean, I was at literally 30 percent.
“So all I did was ask for an extra two months instead of six weeks because they backed themselves into a corner in a matchmaking hole, and now they’re trying to hold this against me. But I find it funny because Dana White’s tone, he changes tone real quick. He heard from the UFC doctors, ‘Colby’s not cleared, he can’t fight in September in Dallas,’ and then he changed his tone. After the Woodley-Till fight, he was like, ‘Okay, Colby’s 100 percent fighting Woodley next, that’s the next fight to make,’ then all of a sudden everything’s changed — now they’re trying to hold it against me, ‘Oh, Colby’s not taking fights. That doesn’t fly in the UFC. Blah, blah, blah.’”
Seemingly due to the UFC’s impatience, they just couldn’t wait for Covington to make the walk in September as they would have liked. Therefore, in came Till to replace him.
“I was in no shape to fight in September in Dallas,” Covington said. “It wasn’t gonna happen, no chance. So if you want to punish me for not fighting in Dallas and [not] turning around on six weeks’ notice when I had surgery and was on every antibiotic and [drug] cocktail underneath the sun, then that’s cool. That’s your business decision. If you want to keep f*cking up your brand and moving shows from one city to another because a guy failed his third steroid test and he’s hitting pregnant ladies [in a] hit-and-run, so be it. I’m the ultimate professional. Show up on time, make weight, do everything they ask of me.
Covington is referencing Jon Jones who just recently got the entire UFC 232 event relocated due to his ‘atypical finding‘ in a drug test.
In light of all that has happened atop the welterweight division and with Covington, Woodley, and Usman, the recent interim champ is now challenging the UFC to part ways with him. Something he believes they won’t be willing to do.
“Let’s be honest… Dana, you don’t got the balls to release me,” Covington claimed. “If you’re saying all of this stuff to the media, then release me. But you ain’t got the balls. You know I’m too valuable.
“They’re not going to do it. They realize my value now. They realize how valuable I am. They know that I sell. They know that every single fighter in the welterweight division wants to fight me. They know that I’m the draw right now at welterweight. I made this division relevant. The only reason people care about Woodley and care about Usman is because they say my name. I’m the relevant one in the division. No one cares about anybody else. They just want to see me fight anybody, it doesn’t matter who it is. So they’re screwing the fans over, they’re screwing the people, and the people are who make their business run. So it’s a big f*ck you to the fans.”
Covington also claims that he’s tried to work with the UFC too, but despite everyone else getting face-to-face meetings, he has had no luck himself.
In the end, even though he may say what’s on his mind more often than people prefer him to, Covington let it be known that he still just wants to be the very best.
“Every time the UFC offers something, I just take it,” Covington added. “I’ve never asked for more money, not one time in my career. I fought Demian Maia for $30,000. The No. 2 guy in the world, I was fighting for $30,000. So I don’t care about money. It’s not about money. I’m in this to be the best fighter in the world, to put on entertaining shows, and to please the fans. That’s what it’s all about is the fans, and they’re shitting on all of their fans. So it’s sad. They want to fool the people and think that they can pull this fast one on the people, but really they’re pulling a fast one on themselves.
“I’m standing [by] my guns,” Covington stated. “I’m not fighting for anything less than what I was promised and what I deserve… And that’s a title shot.”
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/7/2019