At a UFC 217 press conference in Toronto earlier this month, Dana White stated that the winner of a mouth-watering upcoming clash between Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos, which is scheduled for mid December, will get the next crack at UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
After last night and the show-stealing performance Colby Covington turned in at UFC Fight Night 119 in Sao Paulo, White might consider reneging on that promise.
Covington scored by far the most significant win of his professional career thus far in the co-main event of the show, earning a unanimous decision over hometown boy Demian Maia by nullifying the submission savant’s strengths with a stout takedown defence and wearing the Brazilian down with a steady output of strikes. Maia, Woodley’s most recent title challenger, seemed to wilt slightly in the face of the younger man’s pressure in rounds two and three, allowing Covington to inflict serious damage as the fight wore on.
In the end, the judges saw it 29-27, 30-27 and 30-26, all for the American.
As impressive as Covington was in the heat of battle, it was his subsequent performance on the microphone that really got the MMA community talking on social media.
The American Top Team representative has been involved in an angle with TNA Wrestling in recent weeks and he has really embraced the professional wrestling approach to self-promotion.
During an interview with Ariel Helwani earlier in the week, Covington was in full heel mode, as he attacked everybody in the welterweight division, SBG Ireland, and slated the city of Sao Paulo. Standing precariously at the centre of a large gathering of that very city’s inhabitants, Covington once again went on the attack after his win over Maia, calling the people of Sao Paulo “filthy animals” in a cartoonish speech that brought a hail of boos and, eventually, garbage down upon him.
After cutting the promo, in which he also called for a shot at Woodley, Covington had to be escorted from the arena by security.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) October 29, 2017
UFC executive David Shaw said later that the promotion’s “code of conduct committee” would review Covington’s behaviour and consider imposing sanctions(via BloodyElbow). Regardless of what they decide, Covington’s antics will have done his standing in the 170-pound division absolutely no harm. The UFC is in dire need of new stars. It needs fighters who can grab attention. And Covington has certainly done that in recent months. Don’t be surprised if the 29-year-old jumps that queue to a welterweight title shot in the near future.