In just a couple of years, Colby Covington transformed himself from a relatively unknown fighter to one of the most hated figures in MMA today. That transformation came with a lot of backlash, both from fight fans and otherwise.
So when Covington lost to Kamaru Usman at UFC 245 and suffered a broken jaw, his haters celebrated. But according to Brendan Schaub, people may be taking his persona too seriously.
“I think a lot of times too because of Colby’s antics, and he did it to attract fans and he did it for this exact reason he wants you to hate him so you tune in to see him lose,” Schaub said on a recent episode of his Below the Belt podcast (transcript by MMA News). “But that being said, you realize he’s just playing a character. That’s like getting mad at Robert De Niro for playing The Irishman when you see him on the street. Like, ‘what the f—k dude?!’ He’s like, ‘what? That’s a character.’
“For Colby it’s a character, he just happens to be the most hated character and rides with Trump. Obviously there’s the issue with Trump being the president and the moves he makes. But if you ask Colby like, ‘hey man what do you think of the stuff going on with Trump right now with impeachment?’ Or you ask him on his immigration laws, he doesn’t know.
“It’s just a bit, man. It’s just a bit,” he added. “So when you can take that out, which for a lot of people is hard to do, and look at Colby as an athlete as a fighter he’s f—king good man. He is damn good. He’s very, very, very good and he showed it.”
The retired UFC heavyweight then sent a message to Covington’s haters.
“To me the narrative isn’t that Colby lost, the Trump kid lost, the big-mouth kid got his jaw broke. And I hate the f—king #MAGAJaw. Grow up,” he said. “But the thing to me, the narrative of this is how good is Kamaru Usman? He is so god damn good.”
Prior to UFC 245, Covington was on a seven-fight win streak, with wins against Demian Maia and former champions Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos.