Colby Covington claims he is not playing a character, suggests Jorge Masvidal avoided fight against him

colby covington, ufc 268, jorge masvidal
Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; Demian Maia (red gloves) fights Colby Covington (blue gloves)​​​​​ during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

UFC welterweight title challenger Colby Covington says his outlandish personality isn’t a character, but just him with the volume turned up to 11.

In the early days of Covington’s (16-2) run in the UFC, he was a run-of-the-mill humble competitor with a great deal of potential. However, that all changed four years ago following his win over Demian Maia when “Chaos” called the crowd of fans in attendance in Sao Paulo, Brazil “filthy animals.”

As the 33-year-old won more fights and became an elite talent in the division, his unique personality also became as notable a part of his notoriety in the sport. And mostly for the wrong reasons, as he eventually lost favor at his long-time training home of American Top Team, and is now viewed as one of the most infamous personalities in the sport.

Colby Covington claims he is not playing a character

The nicknames he would deal out to enemies and his social media posts featuring scantily clad women became so outlandish that many have assumed the Oregon-native is now just playing a personality, as he tries to build his brand and value in the sport. Yet, the former interim champion claims that’s not the case at all, and his public presentation is very much the person he is at his core. Just with the decibel level turned up high.

“Before, I was scared of how the UFC perceived me, and not trying to piss them off because I wanted to do good business. But I also realized at the same time, this is show business. If you want to get paid, and you want to get in these big high profile fights, you need to not just be a good fighter but you need to do things that entertain fans outside of fighting,” Covington told ESPN on Monday. “I just turned it up to 11 and stopped caring what people thought about me. And I realized I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to make money.

Covington claims Jorge Masvidal ducked him, tried to book fights before UFC 268 return

Making money in the Octagon has been something Covington has not been able to do very much over the last two years. Following his title fight loss to champion Kamaru Usman (19-1) in December 2019, he has only fought once. That being a September 2020 technical knockout win over former division king Tyron Woodley.

Some have speculated that his limited appearances were a strategic play to keep his value high and wait for a championship rematch with Usman. However, Covington says he tried to be more active in the Octagon over the last year, but that no one at the top of the division was up for the “Chaos” challenge. And he specifically took aim at two-time title challenger Jorge Masvidal (35-15). A former friend and teammate at ATT, that has had a long-standing public rivalry with Covington.

“The fact is no one wanted to fight me. Go to Hunter Campbell [UFC Chief Business Officer], go to Dana White, ask them the truth. I mean, ‘Street Judas Masvidal’, they wanted to make this big hype fight. Oh, ‘best friends turned rivals,’ we hate each other’s guts now. He was running his mouth in the media saying all this and that, ‘I’ll drop Colby on-site, this guy’s fragile.’ There’s no one more fragile than ‘Street Judas Masvidal,’ said Covington. “Is he even awake yet, or is he still sleeping from the last time he fought Usman? I was trying to put on the biggest and best fights for the UFC. No one wanted to take the bait.”

Covington is set to headline UFC 268 against Usman on Nov. 6 in New York’s Madison Square Garden. The bout will be a welterweight championship rematch that will air exclusively on ESPN+ pay-per-view for $69.99.

Join the discussion on this topic...