Colby Covington was headed towards a title shot when Kamaru Usman dominated former champ Tyron Woodley in March.
However, things got a bit complicated as they often do in the rollercoaster ride known as MMA. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ was forced into hernia surgery, delaying his return until late this year. Covington signed on to face former champion Robbie Lawler at August’s UFUC Newark as a result. In the meantime, Covington’s American Top Team (ATT) teammate Jorge Masvidal knocked out Ben Askren in a record-breaking win at UFC 239 last Saturday night.
Former interim champ “Chaos” is mired in exactly that regarding his expected shot at the belt. The outspoken-yet-forgotten contender appeared on today’s edition of ‘Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show’ to discuss his career path. First, he claimed he predicted the strike. He then professed his happiness for Masvidal but stopped short of all-out praise by throwing a slight barb at his teammate when he brought up his 2-2 record in his last four.
Covington then said it was ‘business time now’:
“I predicted it. If you go to my interview with this guy Niles McGrath over in England, I predicted he was gonna pull out a big knockout with the knee, and that’s exactly what he did. So I’m super happy for him, he’s back on a little win streak, two wins in a row, you know 2-2 in his last four. You know, I couldn’t be happier for him, now we’re at the top of the mountain; we’re doing things we’ve been talking about for the last eight years.
“I’ve been living and training with that guy for the last eight years at American Top Team. We had dreams and visions of making it to the top of the mountain together. And now here we are, at the top of the mountain. So, very thankful for, you know, having him by my side, but now it’s business time.”
Masvidal and Covington have been training at American Top Team for some time. Yet ‘Gamebred’ said he is willing to fight Covington for the title if he has to, something Covington echoed:
“Well, you know, I’m defending my title against Robbie Lawler August 3, and whoever thinks they’re next, I can give a title shot to anybody. So if Marty (Usman) wants to keep faking injuries and running around not ready to defend the belt, then you know, Jorge can come get a title shot.
“You know it doesn’t matter who’s next, I’m the people’s champ, I’m America’s champ, so I’m going to do what the people want. And whoever they think is next, that’s gonna be next. There’s no friends in this business. I got into this to be the best in the world and I know I’m the best in the world. So whoever it is, I’m going to knock ‘em all off one by one.”
Asked about the awkwardness of fighting a longtime friend, “Chaos” said they have been beating each other up for free for eight years. So it’s not something they look forward to, but the chance to grab a high-profile title bout where both make life-changing paydays is something they can’t pass up:
“Um, yeah, we would dread it. But let’s be honest Ariel, we’ve been beating each other up and fighting each other for free the last eight years at American Top Team. So to go out there to get a seven-figure paycheck for both of us and set ourselves up for the rest of our lives, it wouldn’t be a big deal, you know?
“We’re fighters to heart, that’s what we do and that’s what we love to do. So fighters fight, man. There’s only one man in this business, and that’s what we’re in this to do. To be that one man, to be at the top of the mountain, to have this. So, whoever wants to get this, come get it, boy. I take on all comers.”
Based on that, it sounds like Covington has thought quite in depth about facing his longtime friend and teammate for the belt. He’ll have to get past “Ruthless” first, but the fight could take place soon. Much of that depends on Usman’s recovery.
Are you excited for a possible Masvidal vs. Covington match-up?