Covington, a former interim champion, has unsuccessfully challenged for the 170-pound gold twice in the past two years. In his first attempt to dethrone Kamaru Usman at UFC 245 in 2019, “Chaos” gave the champion a test that no other contender has been able to emulate. After seemingly entering the final round with two rounds in the bank each, it was “The Nigerian Nightmare” who edged ahead and secured a fifth-frame TKO.
After the champ recorded successful defenses against Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal, he turned his attention back to Covington. In the main event of UFC 268 earlier this month, the pair collided in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd. Despite once again taking Usman to the limit, “Chaos” fell short, this time on the judges’ scorecards.
In an exclusive interview with MMA News’ James Lynch following his latest setback, Covington discussed numerous topics, including a potential grudge match with Jorge Masvidal, the recent conduct of Jon Jones and Conor McGregor, the possibility of a Canelo vs. Usman crossover clash, and the idea of moving up to contest for gold at middleweight.
Despite admitting he isn’t the biggest welterweight, Covington told MMA News that a future venture to 185 pounds is definitely a possibility.
“Yeah, it’s an option. I used to train with middleweights all the time. I always used to love to train with bigger guys ‘cos I just knew I could wear them out quicker. They’re bigger and they’ve got more muscle and they just wear faster. They’re a lot slower, too. They’re not as quick as welterweights. So, it’s just easier to train with those guys and beat them up.”
Covington Claims He’d “Destroy Anybody At Middleweight”
The middleweight division is currently ruled by Israel Adesanya. Since joining the UFC in 2018, the Nigerian-New Zealander has gone 10-0 at 185 pounds, defeating Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson, Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, and Marvin Vettori. Not a bad résumé is it?
Despite that, Colby Covington believes he’d have no problem taking down and gassing out “The Last Stylebender,” something he says Adesanya’s sole MMA loss to Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 proved.
“If the right opportunity presents itself, I’ll destroy anybody at middleweight,” Covington told MMA News. “I mean, Stylebender, he can’t wrestle. He’s not a well-rounded fighter, you know. I’d honestly, I’d take him down and gas him out; he wouldn’t be able to stop me. He’s getting taken down by that guy that he fought last fight (Blachowicz). That guy doesn’t even take guys down, he’s never even wrestled; the 205 champ.
“If the right opportunity presents itself man, trust me, I know how good I am. These guys can’t stop me, man. I’ve never lost a round to a middleweight when I used to train with those guys. We’ll see.”
While there are certainly some mouth-watering matchups for Covington should he ever make the move up, he isn’t short of options in his current stomping ground either.
As well as a desired fight with former friend-turned-bitter rival Jorge Masvidal, Covington has expressed his willingness to derail the Khamzat Chimaev hype train.
How do you think Colby Covington would fare against Israel Adesanya at middleweight?