Alexandre Pantoja, the fighter, isn’t too fond of his former American Top Team training partner, Colby Covington. He’s made that clear.
Covington is set to challenge Leon Edwards for the welterweight crown in the UFC 296 main event. Pantoja, on the other hand, will be defending his flyweight strap against Brandon Royval. This will be the evening’s co-headliner on Dec. 16 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Pantoja has been vocal about his feelings. On MMAFighting’s Trocação Franca podcast, he revealed that he wants to avoid Covington during fight week. Instead, he’d prefer to meet Edwards, whose story he finds relatable and admirable.
“I don’t care,” Pantoja said, rather bluntly. He was born in Copacabana and claims to be “disgusting towards everybody.” He respects Covington as an athlete, but feels more connected to Leon Edwards due to his life story and achievements.
Pantoja would go out of his way to shake hands with Edwards and wish him a good fight. As for Covington, Pantoja prefers to keep his distance.
Covington was a part of ATT since 2011, but left the gym in 2020. This was after a series of public feuds with high-profile teammates like Jorge Masvidal, Dustin Poirier, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Pantoja believes Covington left because he craved the limelight in a gym that prioritized a team-first philosophy.
Pantoja shared his thoughts on Covington’s departure. He said, “[Covington] moved to a team where he thinks he’ll get all the attention, but I think MMA is not about that.” He believes that even though fighters are alone in the ring, there’s a great team behind them.
At ATT, you’re just another one training, but Pantoja thinks Colby couldn’t handle being just another one. He wanted all the attention but he wouldn’t get that at ATT.
Pantoja is always open to training with every training partner. He recently helped Kayla Harrison and enjoyed the session. He likes helping everybody because he gets so much help too.
Pantoja says Dan Lambert, the American Top Team owner, was very emotional when he won the belt. This was because Pantoja dedicates himself to helping his teammates as well. Colby, according to Pantoja, can’t do that. He wants to be the main person all the time, something that wouldn’t be possible at American Top Team.