If you take a look at the UFC welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, you wouldn’t believe he’s 35-years of age. You’d believe he has cardio issues because of his physique and while he pulled off a victory over Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in a 25 minute affair, fellow American Top Team product, Colby “Chaos” Covington believes he has what it takes to defeat Woodley. He’s made no bones about where he fits in the 170 lb division and while he doesn’t receive much notoriety, it’s fair to at least consider hearing him out.
The last time we saw the Oregon State University NCAA standout was in June against Dong Hyun Kim and his top notch wrestling is what earned him the lopsided win. While his style doesn’t appeal to all MMA fans, there’s no doubting Covington’s dominance. Training everyday alongside top welterweight and one of the purest strikers in the UFC, Jorge Masvidal certainly doesn’t hurt his cause. The 29-year-old holds an 8-1 record with his lone loss coming to Warlley Alves via guillotine at UFC 194. Covington has been under the UFC banner for over three years and is now ranked ninth in the rankings and stated that he’s on an embarrassment tour, which includes a four fight win streak. While names like Bryan Barberena, Max Griffin, and Mike Pyle don’t pop out at you, there is something to be said about his recent verbal lashing against fighters like Rafael dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler and Neil Magny,
Covington doesn’t have the just bleed fight style to help his case in seeking big fights and maybe that’s what was led to Tarec Saffiedene getting a shot at headlining against RDA in his welterweight debut, but his recent outspoken mentality could place him in against either of the three aforementioned names in the near future. Covington recently expressed interest in fighting Gunnar Nelson, who is scheduled to fight this Sunday against Santiago Ponzinibbio in Glasgow. While Nelson showed interest in fighting higher ranked competition following his last outing, a TKO win over Alan Jouban in March, maybe Covington could be next should he come out victorious on Sunday. After all, Nelson is ranked one spot above Covington in the rankings at the moment.
Both Covington and Nelson are high level grapplers and it’d be an interesting contest watching a wrestling stand out battle it out against a jiu jitsu player. Then again, the last contest between Covington and Kim- a judoka- didn’t provide much fire works from a fan’s perspective. Someone who would provide plenty of fireworks is Robbie Lawler, but it’s unlikely we’ll see the fight go down. Oddly enough, Covington was a teammate of Lawler’s up until January. Covington’s best friend, Jorge Masvidal stated he’d only fight Lawler if a title was on the line, but it doesn’t appear to be the same case for the man nicknamed, “Chaos.”
With Dos Anjos’ welterweight debut turning out successful on the same card that featured Covington, the opportunity to have the #10 ranked RDA and #9 “Chaos” settle their social media beef in the octagon is another option. The two athletes bickered at each other pre and post fight so it shouldn’t take long to get them to agree to a date. RDA’s muay thai and jiu jitsu background could pose problems for his larger adversary, but then again the wrestling and size advantage could spoil his run at welterweight.
The role of the black hat in MMA is occupied by quite a few men and women, but none of them appear to go as far as Covington as seen in his post fight interview, in which he called for Woodley’s title and mentioned the champion’s lack of cardio. The two men are in different places, but perhaps one day their paths cross and we’ll have a similar scenario to the TJ Dillashaw-Cody Garbrandt mess. With a lot of question marks on who would be next in line for the title, Covington could very well turn the division into his show if he manages to pull off another dominant performance against a high ranked opponent. While it may seem like nobody is paying much attention to the guy known for being Jon Jones’ Iowa Central Community College roommate, he just might force you to.