Colby Covington was widely expected to get the first crack at new UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, but after a series of twists and turns, he ultimately found himself booked for a crucial welterweight contender bout with the former champion Robbie Lawler instead.
Surprisingly, Covington seems to be just fine with this matchup. He gave his take on how it all came to be on the latest episode of BJPenn.com Radio.
“Well, America’s Champ got the call from Uncle Dana, my best friend, and she wanted me to defend against the last real champion of this division, an all-time great, a first ballot Hall of Famer in ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler. That guy coming off a dominant win over Ben Askren. He’s never looked better than in that fight. You know, he knocked out Ben Askren and removed his consciousness. So, we’re going to see the best Robbie Lawler we’ve ever seen. That’s why I’m excited to put my belt on the line and defend this title. I’m America’s champion. I’m the people’s champion. I fight for the people now and that’s what it’s all about, putting on exciting fights for the fans. And I’m not out here faking injuries like ‘Marty Fake News Man.’ He’s out here making fake narratives, fake excuses. And so we just move on, man, business goes on as usual. We’ll defend against the biggest name in the division. That’s Ruthless Robbie Lawler.”
In fact, Colby Covington believes his fight with Robbie Lawler, which will headline UFC Newark on August 3, will drum up more interest than a potential title fight with Usman.
“I mean, let’s be honest, Jason, if you went and ask 10 people on the street right now who they know better, Marty Fake News Men or Ruthless Robbie Lawler, who are they going to pick?” Covington asked host Jason Kindschy. “Exactly, man. So he’s a bigger name, he’s a bigger fight, and I’m excited to test my skills against him. He has true one punch knockout power. He’s a very well rounded fighter, can stop take downs. He actually took Ben Askren’s Hodge Trophy by dumping him on the head that last fight.”
“We saw that he’s a very well rounded mixed martial artist and he’s very due for a title shot,” he added. “So I’m excited to give him a title shot and you know, get this belt on the line. August 3rd in Newark, New Jersey in the Prudential Center.”
Since news of this Colby Covington vs. Robbie Lawler fight first broke, there has been widespread suggestions that Covington was forced into the matchup by the UFC. He says this is not the case.
“No I wouldn’t agree that we got backed into a corner,” he said. “This is something we wanted to take. We wanted to show our work to the UFC and our worth to ESPN. Robbie is a dangerous opponent and he’s a very game opponent. He’s the biggest name in the division besides myself. I’m the one giving out title shots. He deserves a title shot. Robbie definitely deserves a title shot. He’s never looked better than in his last fight. This is about fighting. Fighters fight man. So I’m not going to sit around and wait for Marty Fake News Man. Whenever he gets his little hernia figured out that he’s been sitting out for seven months. What a joke man. So business moves on, man, I don’t need those guys. I don’t need Marty Fake News Man. I don’t need Tyron Woodley. I’ll go to bigger names and I’ll go steal the show on ESPN and show who’s the real world to a king.
“It’s going to be incredible, you don’t want to miss this one.”
Needless to say, Colby Covington has a lot of respect for his former American Top Team stablemate Robbie Lawler — despite the fact that he’s previously criticized Lawler for being over the hill.
“He’s a very tough matchup,” Covington said of his foe. “I definitely don’t think he was past his prime — before, that was just talking just to say things. But after seeing him, the way he looked in this last fight, man, he’s never looked stronger. If you look at his body, I mean he’s never looked bigger and he’s never looked more powerful in knocking out Ben Askren. So, he looks incredible right now, and you know what, the thing about this fight is that he’s going to have a lot of hunger and a lot of vengeance on his side because he’s going to want to get Dan Lambert back and American Top Team back.”
“He’s going to have that extra chip on his shoulder to come out here and try and knock me out, so it’s an incredibly tough match up, man. He’s good everywhere. He doesn’t have any holes in his game and he’s really the last real champion before myself. So it’s going to be an exciting fight, and it’s going to be a fight for the fans. I can’t wait to put all the asses in the seats and then put on a good show for them like they deserve.”
Are you surprised to hear Colby Covington speak so highly of an opponent?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/27/2019.