This weekend, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, fans will be treated to one of the blockbuster cards of the year as UFC 245 takes place.
Not only does the card boast three title fights, including a potentially career-defining moment for Max Holloway against Alex Volkanovski, it also features two excellent bantamweight bouts and some bangers on the prelims.
And while the whole card is great, the main event is perhaps where the most fascinating contest lies, as Colby Covington finally has his shot at Kamaru Usman’s UFC Welterweight Championship, years after their bitter feud began.
Usman and Covington share one of the sport’s most bitter rivalries, which only adds to intrigue behind this contest. What makes the contest even more interesting is the number of similarities between the two competitors: not only do they employ very similar fighting styles in the octagon, they share virtually identical records, possess the same physical attributes and even train out of the same state.
In a recent interview with The Schmo, Covington was asked if he had seen Usman around Florida in the weeks leading up to their contest and responded in typically bullish fashion.
“No. He goes to all the MMA events and I’m not a mark like him, you’re not gonna see me showing up to those,” Covington said.
“He knows better than to go around my block, because he knows what’ll happen, just like what’s going to happen this weekend; he’s gonna be left in a pool of his own blood.”
Missing at UFC 244
Even before his ‘heel turn,’ Covington has always been outspoken about drug cheats in the sport, and it’s no surprise that the build-up to the biggest fight of his career has been littered with accusations about PEDs. In particular, Covington feels that Usman cost him an opportunity to headline UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden, and while Dana White explained that it was negotiation issues that delayed the bout, ‘Chaos’ is convinced that PEDs are the real reason.
“I wanted to headline UFC 244, but Marty Fakenewsman had to clear the EPO out of his system,” Covington said.
“It’s wasn’t just me he turned down; he turned down Leon Scott, journeyman Jorge Masvidal. He didn’t want to fight anybody in New York and he’s not going to want to fight anyone again after this weekend in Vegas.”
In typical fashion, Covington gave no actual evidence to back up these claims but did say that Usman was being given PED’s from within the Hard Knocks 365 gym. In particular, he pointed towards both Usman’s strength coach and a former ATT member who has made the switch across Florida.
“I’ve heard second hand from his training partners, and they know for a fact he’s on EPO and that he’s been doing steroids for his whole career. I think his strength coach is the doctor, and there’s another guy who used to train at our gym, I can’t remember his name, but he used to give all the guys steroids back in the day in the MMA world. They might want to look into that guy.”
— UFC (@ufc) December 12, 2019
The First Family
As his status in the UFC has grown, Covington’s ‘Great American Winning Machine’ persona has earned both praise and criticism from fans and fighters alike. In particular, Covington’s relationship with the First Family of the USA has come under the media magnifying glass. While it is not clear how close the welterweight actually is with the Trump’s, he remains the UFC’s chief pro-Trump voice, and this has certainly brought its fair share of benefits in the build-up to UFC 245.
“I got my team out here. I’ve been staying in the Trump hotel, they’ve given me the VIP treatment, the red-carpet treatment so a big thank you to the Trump family from the bottom of my heart. They’ve made everything so easy this week in Vegas and I’m going to put on a show this weekend at UFC 245.”
Despite such apparent friendship, Covington was nowhere to be seen when President Trump visited Madison Square Garden to watch UFC 244. While fans were slightly confused why the ATT fighter wasn’t present, he explained that is wasn’t his own choice, and that his absence came from a higher power upstairs: Dana White.
“Uncle Fester didn’t want me to, he didn’t want me to be with the Trump family. It’s too bad because I went to Trump Tower and had lunch with Don Jr., Eric Trump and they were both like ‘Hey, the only reason the President, our Dad, Donald Trump is coming to the fight is because he thought you were fighting Marty Fakenewsman.’
“Even though I wasn’t, they still asked if I could sit with them front-row and watch the fights together, but Dana White blocked it. He didn’t want me to get that press because he’s always trying to put himself first over the fighters.”
In the past year, Covington’s relationship with the UFC has become significantly strained. Not only have fight negotiations proven particularly contentious, but ‘Chaos’ was also stripped of his interim welterweight title without a unification opportunity for seemingly no reason. Combine this with the bizarre video of Covington confronting Dana White at a blackjack table in Las Vegas during UFC 235 fight week and his constant calling out of White, and it seems clear that the former Oregon wrestler isn’t exactly popular with the promotion. Thus, it was unsurprising to hear Covington’s opinion on the UFC’s recent decision to cut Liz Carmouche while the former flyweight contender was doing promotional work for the company.
“I wasn’t surprised. You see the way the UFC treats their fighters; they could care less. All the fighters are just a name and a number and it’s on to the next one; the machine keeps moving. So, I wasn’t surprised.”
Colby Covington fights welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the main event at UFC 245 this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada.
The blockbuster card boasts two other title fights, with featherweight king Max Holloway taking on Alexander Volkanovski and Amanda Nunes defending her bantamweight title against Germaine de Randamie.
Also on the card, Marlon Moraes will welcome Jose Aldo to the 135-pound division and Urijah Faber will look to continue his successful return from retirement against bantamweight bogeyman Petr Yan. Also on the card, Geoff Neal and Mike Perry will clash in a potential FOTN contender and Ian Heinisch will look to return to the win column against Omari Akhmedov, who is 2-0-1 since returning to middleweight.