Whether Covington actually shows up for the fights themselves (he says he won’t), he appears set on making himself part of the narrative for UFC 235. The former interim title holder was stripped of his belt shortly after winning it with a victory over Rafael dos Anjos back in June of last year. His unwillingness - or inability, depending on who you believe - to make a quick turnaround against Tyron Woodley saw the UFC push him out of the immediate contender picture, into which Usman has quickly stepped.
It’s a move that Covington believes is down to politics. Most importantly that Usman is a client of MMA agent Ali Abdelaziz. And as such, more likely to get favorable treatment from the UFC. Just to make sure he got that point across, ‘Chaos’ showed up to Usman’s open workout on Thursday — with a mini-bullhorn and a fake belt in tow.
Just spoke to @ColbyCovMMA who said him not getting the @ufc title shot Saturday vs. @TWooodley is due to “corruption (that) has to do with (powerful manager) @AliAbdelaziz00 and the pull he has with the UFC because of Khabib. That’s why it’s (Ali client) Usman,” in title fight.— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) February 28, 2019
Colby Covington just crashed Kamaru Usman’s open workout with his belt and a megaphone. pic.twitter.com/X6iCDazrJV— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 28, 2019
“I don’t know, we’ll see. Probably not. I’ve got better things to do than see boring fights,” Covington told the assembled media when asked if he’d be at UFC 235. “Nobody wants to see these fights.”
“Nah, Dana White - Uncle Fester - he ain’t got nothing to say to me, man,” he added when asked if he’d spoken to the UFC president. “He’s a coward, man. He can’t even talk to me like a man. I tried to get a meeting with him face to face. He ain’t got nothing to say, so I ain’t got nothing to say to Uncle Fester.”
Even if Covington’s relationship with the UFC may not be getting repaired anytime soon. Both Woodley and Usman have said they’d fight Covington as the next title challenger. To Covington’s mind, that’s because they know he’s the real champ.
“They know I’m next. They know I’m the real world champ,” Covington stated. “There’s no interim about this. I’m the people’s champ, I’m America’s champ. So, I better be next. If I’m not next they need to give me my release and I’m going somewhere else to defend my title.
“Yeah, it’s title next, or I’m out of the UFC. I’ve got a belt, I’m no. 1 in the world. You gotta go by the rankings. This isn’t a sport. If this is a sport, you go by the rankings. No. 1 guy should be next. So if I’m not next I want my release.”
UFC 235 goes down this Saturday, March 2nd at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jon Jones defends his light heavyweight title in the main event against Anthony Smith, while Woodley takes on Usman in the co-main. Hopefully for Covington, once these fights are in the book his situation in the UFC will become much more clear.