Like him or loathe him, Colby Covington rarely minces his words. That was true on Saturday night when he launched into a caustic attack on beaten rival Tyron Woodley as well as basketball star LeBron James and Black Lives Matter.
Covington overwhelmed Woodley from the get-go of their welterweight grudge match at the UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas, running out the victor by fifth-round TKO after Woodley was unable to continue with an apparent rib injury.
It was a victory that was all the more sweet for Covington, coming as it did against a former training partner and a man who he says represents the antithesis of all that he stands for.
Indeed, this was a fight infused with more spice than most, and which – for better or worse – had a distinctly political hue in its build-up.
On one side of the octagon was Covington, with his continued vocal support for Donald Trump, a man from whom he received a call while basking in his win on Saturday night.
On the other was Woodley, with his equally high-profile backing of the Black Lives Matter movement – for which Covington had labelled him a “domestic terrorist sympathizer” in the build-up to their showdown.
There was clearly no love lost, and despite dominating former welterweight champ Woodley across five rounds, Covington was not prepared to put the animosity to bed after the fight.
“He stands for evil, he stands for Black Lives Matter. I stand for America, I stand for dedicating this victory for all the law enforcement out there, all the military, all the people that put their lives on the line every day to protect our freedoms, to keep our communities safe,” Covington said at his post-fight press conference.
“He doesn’t stand up for that, he hates that stuff, he wants to defund the police. I’m never going to be friends with a guy like that.
“All these athletes, they use private security to stay safe, and now they want to vilify them and talk about the 1 percent of the 1 percent of the bad times that they do? What about all the good things? What about 9/11 when they rushed in and put their lives on the line to save all those people? What about all the good things they do every single day?
“I fight not only for the Trumps, but for the troops and for law enforcement,” said the 32-year-old known as ‘Chaos’.
Covington later branded Woodley “a communist and a Marxist,” claiming he was “standing up for lifelong criminals” by backing BLM and casually referring to basketball star LeBron James, whom he labelled a “spineless coward.”
“You know Black Lives Matter is a complete sham. It is a joke. They are taking these people. They are complete terrorists,” Covington said.
“They are taking these people that are criminals. You know, these aren’t people that are hard-working Americans, blue-collar Americans.
“These are bad people. They are criminals, you know, and they shouldn’t be attacking police. If you are breaking the law and you are threatening the cops with weapons. You know, you deserve to get what you get.”
“Law enforcement protects us all. If you don’t have law enforcement it would be the wild wild west.
“So you know, people need to go and give a pat on the back to law enforcement every single day and thank them for keeping us all safe.
“Otherwise, all these criminals would be running the streets wild and none of us would be safe…
“[Woodley’s] a communist, he’s a Marxist, he stands for criminals. He hates America, and that’s why he got broke tonight.”
After Covington comfortably saw off the challenge from Woodley – in the process bouncing back from his December title fight defeat against Kamaru Usman – attention will now turn to who is next up for the MMA motormouth, who improved his record to 16-2 overall.
Covington said he was ready and willing to running it back with Usman, with whom he exchanged words in a post-fight interview, or take on fan favorite Jorge Masvidal – who himself lost out to the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ via unanimous decision on Fight Island in July.
“[Masvidal] needs to come see me for all the talking he’s done,” Covington said of a fight which would again carry a personal edge and would undoubtedly fire the imaginations of fight fans.
“Come see if can walk the walk. I talk the talk and I walk the walk. I want to see Jorge Masvidal in that octagon… I want the best friends-turned-enemy fight with ‘Street Judas’ Jorge Masvidal.”
“I WANT MY BELT BACK!” 🏆@ColbyCovMMA is on the hunt for gold. [ *NSFW* ] pic.twitter.com/Zbsy4PHSnN
The story is very different for Woodley, who slipped to a third successive defeat, leaving UFC boss Dana White to openly wonder whether it was time for the 38-year-old to “start thinking about hanging it up.”
Meanwhile, and whether you like it or not, Colby Covington has earned himself plenty more time in the spotlight.