As if winning his grudge match with Tyron Woodley wasn’t enough for Colby Covington on Saturday night, he interrupted a post-fight interview to take a call from ‘big fan’ Donald Trump.
Covington dominated former welterweight champion Woodley across five rounds at the UFC’s Apex center in Las Vegas, winning by TKO at 1:19 of the final round after Woodley screamed in pain with an apparent rib injury and was unable to continue after Covington had secured a takedown.
The win was all the more sweet for ‘Chaos’ given it came against a former training partner and amid a bitter build-up to the fight which drew in the politics of the upcoming US presidential election as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.
Covington is a loud and proud supporter of US President Donald Trump, previously visiting him at the White House and attending a Trump rally in the run-up to the fight with Woodley.
So it was little surprise that Covington – wearing a characteristic ‘Keep America Great’ cap – could barely contain himself when he realized he was taking a call from Trump in the middle of a post-fight interview with Megan Olivi on ESPN.
“You are a great fighter, man,” Trump was heard telling Covington after the fighter put the call on loudspeaker. “I’ll tell you, you make it so easy. I don’t know how you do it.
“Congratulations, I wanted to watch that fight tonight, you were great.”
President Trump called @ColbyCovMMA during the #UFCVegas11 post show 📱 pic.twitter.com/FJsUMQV8Xk
“Thank you so much, Mr President,” Covington gushed in reply.
“You gave me the dragon energy when you shook my hand on Sunday at your rally. It doesn’t matter if King Kong is in front of me. I was not gonna lose after getting to shake your hand.”
Trump gave credit to the beaten Woodley, saying: “He’s a tough-looking guy, he’s a great fighter, a champ. But it was relatively easy work for you. I’m proud of you, man.
“I just made a big speech, 35,000 people, I said I want to get home now to watch Colby.”
“Yeah, [Woodley’s] a former champion, but I didn’t care if it was Superman, after meeting you Mr President, I was beating anybody,” Covington responded.
Trump replied: “I’m proud of you, you’re a great fighter, you’re tough, you have the right spirit. So now just go win the next one… I appreciated the shout-out tonight. I’m your fan, you’re my fan. Two of a kind.”
“I’m going to get that belt and bring it to the Oval Office when you win [the election] by a landslide, November 3,” vowed the 32-year-old Covington.
“You get that belt… we’re rooting for you, Colby. Keep it going,” said Trump.
“Wow,” said a dumbstruck Covington after the call had ended.
🤝 Donald Trump is ready for Colby Covington vs. Tyron Woodley this Saturday!@ColbyCovMMA@realDonaldTrump#UFCVegas11pic.twitter.com/oq8tG9iRIq
Trump had welcomed Covington and other fighters including lightweight interim champ Justin Gaethje to a recent rally, and has a close association with UFC boss Dana White.
The US leader will have been delighted with what he saw from Covington on Saturday as he improved his record to 16-2, and bounced back from the disappointment of his defeat to Kamaru Usman in their welterweight title fight in December.
Woodley, meanwhile, was left to contemplate a third defeat on the spin as UFC boss White openly wondered whether it might be time for the former 170lbs champ to “start thinking about hanging it up.”
“YOU’RE NEXT!”Should @ColbyCovMMA faces Masvidal or Usman next!? 🇺🇸 #UFCVegas11pic.twitter.com/IUgTUByyAO