Covington defeated Masvidal via unanimous decision in their welterweight grudge match after months of back-and-forth banter. Covington dominated with his wrestling and also out-landed Masvidal with his standup.
After the fight, Masvidal claimed that he was “flat” with his wrestling, which he feels was a major reason for the loss. Covington has always been known to be a wrestler by nature but has also shown improved standup over time.
During a recent segment of ESPN’s First Take, Smith gave his thoughts on Masvidal’s approach to the fight with Covington and his post-fight comments.
“I’m a huge, huge Masvidal fan,” Smith prefaced. “I think he’s great for the sport because he’s got knockout power in both punches, he can obviously use that knee very well and he has improved his wrestling. But Colby Covington showed that he’s on a different level from a wrestling standpoint, and from a stamina standpoint.
“One of the things that I paid attention to coming into this fight is something that Colby Covington said. Because he knew him and they were former best friends and roommates turned enemies, Covington said, ‘Masvidal trains for his fights; I live this.’ What he was talking about is he is always in shape. He’s never out of shape. He’s renowned for his condition and the pressure he’s able to apply and how he never lets up because he keeps on coming.”
Smith went on to point out how fatigued Masvidal looked as the fight came to a close.
“I saw Masvidal gutsy and survive the five rounds, but while he was waving Covington on to come on, ‘Let’s get some more.’ He was literally using two security personnel to lean on because that’s how exhausted he was. Covington looked like he was just starting. He was that energized. The guy is in phenomenal shape, he’s an outstanding wrestler and Masvidal admitted that his wrestling was flat.
“How was it flat coming into this fight knowing this guy as well as you know him and knowing what he was going to try to do to you, and how much you supposedly hate him? How you were not ready for a wrestling match, I don’t understand. It’s inexplicable.” (h/t MMA Junkie)
Masvidal has now lost three straight bouts and hasn’t won since his BMF title victory over Nate Diaz at UFC 244. He’s anticipating a return later this year to work his way towards a potential rematch against Covington down the line.
Smith has had a complicated relationship with the MMA community. In addition to his criticisms of Masvidal, he also came under fire after attacking Donald Cerrone on the ESPN post-fight show for his quick loss to Conor McGregor.
What are your thoughts on how Jorge Masvidal vs. Colby Covington played out?