Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley are the two halves of arguably the most heated rivalry in MMA today. The two top welterweights, who used to share a training space at American Top Team, are now sworn enemies. Yet there is one thing they can agree on: they want to fight each other next.
Covington and Woodley’s mutual desire to be locked in the cage together is particularly pertinent lately, given that the UFC has recently moved to give Kamaru Usman the next shot at Woodley’s title. Usman has even received a bout agreement for the fight.
When Colby Covington defeated Rafael dos Anjos to win the interim UFC welterweight title in June, he was promised the opportunity to fight Woodley next. He will not be pleased if that promise is broken.
“There is no drama other than promises made, promises kept,” Covington said. “Have I ever made a promise on a show and not followed through with it? Everything I said from the beginning, ‘I’m going to leave Demian Maia in a pool of blood in his hometown. I’m going to go beat Dong Hyun Kim in Singapore, do a favor to the UFC, beat him up in Asia, run the king of Asia. I’m going to go beat up Raphael dos Anjos at the United Center, take my 10 pounds of gold back to Miami on my private jet.’ I’ve done it all.
“I said I was going to go see Mr. President Donald Trump, I did it,” he continued. “I’m the Neil Armstrong of MMA. I’m the first fighter to ever go to the White House and hang out with the sitting president. So I’ve done everything that I’ve said I was going to do. Now it’s time for the UFC to fulfill their promises. You know in this world you’ve got your word and you’ve got your balls and you don’t break that for nobody.”
Colby Covington maintains that he has already accepted a title fight with Tyron Woodley on multiple dates. He agreed to fight the champ at UFC 230 in November, and also agreed to fight him at the now-cancelled UFC 233 card, which was scheduled for January 26.
“I was offered Tyron Woodley in November MSG, I accepted, he couldn’t fight there,” Covington explained. “All of the sudden he had a thumb injury so we waited it out. Then they said, ‘Okay, January 26, [the UFC 233] pay-per-view in Anaheim versus Woodley.’ I said, ‘Yes, let’s unify the belt, it’s time. This is the ball-buster main event that I built up through the years. Let’s go do it.’ And you know, that’s all I’ve heard, I haven’t heard anything else from them, just being promised Anaheim and now that’s where we’re at.”
Interestingly, Covington says that Woodley is also ready and willing to fight in the New Year — he just couldn’t compete at UFC 233.
Woodley’s willingness to take this fight makes the UFCs mention of a Kamaru Usman title shot even more frustrating for Covington.
“I know for a fact Tyron Woodley has accepted a fight with me, he just didn’t want to do it January 26,” Covington said. “He said, ‘Hey yeah, I want to fight Colby, that’s the fight I want. I don’t want anybody else, that’s my biggest fight. That’s a beef that needs to be settled.’ That’s not manufactured beef, that’s real beef, Jason. We want to kill each other. I don’t care if I’m fighting Tyron Woodley in the Octagon, I’ll fight him in a CVS. I’ll go to St. Louis and I’ll find that little bitch. We’re going to fight next.”
Given that he and Woodley are both willing to fight in the very near future, Covington is starting to wonder if there are other factors at play that are deterring the UFC from booking the bout.
“I agreed to fight at UFC 233 in Anaheim,” he said. “I was locked in and as far as I know Woodley, he was very adamant, he only wants to fight me and he wanted to fight me, but he didn’t want to fight that day. Supposedly he wants to push it back a little bit. So I don’t know, I don’t know what conspiracy… there might be a lot of corrupt stuff going on right now, but I don’t really care.”
Whether there is corruption at play or not, Colby Covington is adamant that he and Woodley will still fight next. The UFC owes him that much.
“They’re going to fulfill the promises they made to me,” he said. “They gave me their word and in this life you’re only as good as your word.”
“They gave me a belt, I’ve got a world championship belt,” he added, referencing his interim title win over dos Anjos. “I didn’t lose that belt. I’ve never lost a fight, I’m undefeated. So we need to unify these belts. Obviously that’s what’s next. I don’t care if they want to say, they can say they’re trying to strip me, but it’s unethical.”
Colby Covington is starting to wonder if the UFC is punishing him for not being able to fight Tyron Woodley at UFC 228 in Dallas back in September. In his eyes, however, this potential punishment doesn’t make sense, as it was the UFC’s doctor’s who told him he wasn’t fit to compete on the card.
“I wanted to go to my doctor and get the surgery, [but] no, I went to their doctors,” he said. “Their doctors told me I wasn’t cleared to fight in Dallas, their doctors said I needed time off. Their doctors said [Woodley] wouldn’t be ready to fight until November, that’s why I accepted MSG. It was all their doctors that said I couldn’t fight in Dallas. So if there’s any miscommunication on the end that they wanted me to fight in Dallas and maybe they’re pissed off, what do you want me to do? I went to your doctors. Your doctors told me I couldn’t fight. I was ready to go in Madison Square Garden for Woodley or Nick Diaz and then I was ready to go in Anaheim, California. So it’s unjust.”
Colby Covington concluded that, no matter what is going on behind the scenes at the UFC offices, he needs to fight Tyron Woodley next. There is an ocean of bad blood between them, and something needs to be done about it.
Again, that’s about the only thing he and Woodley agree on.
“I’ve got unfinished business with Woodley,” he said. “I don’t want to fight anybody else, Jason. This has been brewing for so long. Since the first day I trained with him, probably five years ago at American Top Team when I was beating his ass and he was like, ‘Oh who’s this kid? He’s a 2-0 professional fighter, all-American wrestler. Why’s he taking me down and just taking my will? Why can I not beat him? Why can I not go to the deep waters and he’s just exhausting me and I can’t fight normally like how I normally fight.’ This is when he was preparing for his biggest fight with Rory McDonald. So we’ve had unfinished business since the days in the gym.
“There’s a reason he doesn’t come back to American Top Team anymore,” he added. “I smoked him so many times, he doesn’t want to come back and get melted here anymore. So he’s moved his camp over at Poop Doofus and that’s where we’re at now. Now we need to settle a score, this fight’s been brewing for so long and I built it all by myself and I think the UFC’s just mad. They’re mad they didn’t build the fight so that’s why they’re trying to screw me over.”
“I do know that Woodley wants to fight me and we want to fight, and I want to fight him,” he concluded. I”t’s the only thing that we’re ever going to agree on in our lives.”
Do you think we’ll finally see Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley fight in the New Year?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/17/2018.