Colby Covington, the fighter, might’ve seemed a bit quiet in the cage at UFC 296. But boy, did he make up for it afterward. He was back to his usual, brash self in no time.
He didn’t manage to unseat the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight king Leon Edwards at the main event on Saturday. He lost the first four rounds on all judges’ scorecards. Seemed like he was a bit hesitant to apply his trademark pressure and wrestling.
After the match, Covington raised his hands as if he’d won. He looked surprised when the scores were read out and the winner announced.
Covington didn’t back down from his stance in his post-fight interview. He said he thought he’d done enough to win. He even claimed he was robbed of a title victory because the judges were politically biased against former US President Donald Trump. Trump had been in attendance, by the way.
Covington said, “I thought the third, fourth and fifth rounds were mine. The fifth was mine, easily. Fourth, I thought was mine too, and I thought I did enough in the third. He didn’t put any damage on me. He got a couple of low kicks, but then I started checking them at the end. So I thought I had the win and did enough.”
He went on to say, “The judges never favor me. They hate me because I support Trump, and everybody hates Trump in this building, so … it is what it is. Life goes on.”
Covington’s claim of an anti-Trump crowd didn’t match up with the warm reception the former president received upon entering T-Mobile Arena that night. Trump’s history with the promotion goes back over two decades. He’s been a regular at UFC events during his presidency and after.
Covington has been a vocal Trump supporter for several years. He even got an invitation to bring his interim welterweight belt to the White House in 2019.
When asked about his seeming lack of intent in the fight, Covington dodged the question. He reiterated his support for Trump instead. The Las Vegas arena paused for a few seconds out of respect for the former POTUS. But they soon returned to booing “Chaos” throughout his Octagon interview.
Many thought Covington didn’t deserve the title shot in the first place. They pointed to his long layoff and lack of credible wins in the recent past. After his third failed attempt at undisputed gold, Covington seems to have lowered his aim. He’s now calling out two-time former title challenger Stephen Thompson.
Thompson suffered a submission loss to Kazakh phenom Shavkat Rakhmonov on the same card. Covington accused the 40-year-old “Wonderboy,” who is widely regarded as one of the most affable, respectful competitors in the UFC, of being an instigator.
Covington said, “There’s a guy that’s been talking a lot of s— to me in the media: Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. Everybody thinks he’s a nice guy, but he’s had a lot to say about me, so I’d love to see him say that to me in the cage, in the Octagon.”
“He was just saying some stuff before the fight — ‘Oh, he’s going to get his jaw broke,’ this and that. He’s always talking s—, throwing shade. So I’d love to see him say it to my face. He’s always got things to say to you guys in the media, but I’ve never seen him come up to me, face to face. We’re backstage at the press conference, he kept his head down the whole time.”