Things appeared to be right in the world between Colby Covington and UFC president Dana White in August 2018. Covington was coming off a dominant performance over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 225 to become the interim welterweight champion. He’s the type of guy White seems to like because he’s an excellent talker who can then back it up inside the Octagon.
When you combine those factors, more than often not, it’s a license to print money. Covington looked to be well on his way to becoming one of the next big stars for the organization when he became the first UFC fighter to appear at the White House, meeting with President Donald Trump.
But then the wheels came off the tracks in Covington’s mind. He says the UFC wanted to book him vs. then-170 pound champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 228 in September 2018 to determine an undisputed champion. Covington couldn’t take the fight due to having to have nasal surgery, and subsequently, the organization removed him as the interim titleholder. Then White said Covington turned fights with Usman and Woodley, which Covington has denied.
Leading into his quest for the gold, which culminates at Saturday’s UFC 245 when he battles current titlist Kamaru Usman, the 31-year-old feels it’s been one lie after another from White that has him fed up to the point he’s lost respect for his boss and that he doesn’t want Covington to leave the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as the welterweight champion.
“Absolutely, he doesn’t want me to win the belt,” Covington told Sporting News. “And l love it. That’s what drives me to be great and to keep the UFC great.
“He’s treated me like s— so I’m going to treat him like s—. He’s also the same guy that stripped me of America’s title, the people’s title, for no reason. I went to the UFC doctors to get nose surgery. They wanted me to turn around from a five-round fight with Rafael dos Nachos (Anjos) with six weeks notice. I still get an assurance from him that I would fight the winner of Tyron Woodley-Darren Till. And after that fight, I get passed up again. He lies to me again. And that was when Marty Fake Usman got to fight Woodley. He comes up to me at that fight and tells me that I’ll fight the winner. I promise you that. But then I have to go through Robbie Lawler. They (the UFC) come up to me and tell me that I have no choice, and I have to fight Robbie Lawler or I’ll never get a title shot again and lock you into a contract.
“I’m so sick of getting treated like this. I get all these unfulfilled promises and disrespect. I’m not going to respect people who disrespect me.”
The UFC 245 main event is as personal as it gets. The words exchanged between Covington and Usman have been harsh, including an incident when they almost came to blows in a buffet line the day after Usman beat Woodley to capture the title at UFC 235.
“As a person, I don’t like how fake he is,” Covington said. “He’s always lying to the media. He’s trying to say he’s from Nigeria. He was born in Dallas and went to college in Nebraska. Also, he’s trying to say he’s more American than me. Who is more American than me? My family served in the military. What’s his family served besides being in federal prison?”
Covington enters UFC 245 as the underdog. It’s a role he doesn’t mind because he feels in his heart there’s no way Usman can beat him. And when ring announcer Bruce Buffer announces him as the new UFC welterweight champion, it’s not White that Covington wants to put the belt around his waist. It’s political activist Candace Owens.
“Chaos” proceeds to send White a message if he refuses Covington’s request.
“Dana White is not allowed to put that title around my waist, and he knows that,” Covington emphatically said. “After UFC 244 and the fight for the Bernie Sanders participation trophy, they had The Rock put the title around the waist of the Street Judas, Jorge Masvidal. If they do that, then I want Candace Owens to wrap the belt around my waist as she will be front row in attendance. If she doesn’t wrap the belt around my waist, then I feel bad for Dana White.”