In the eyes of Dan Lambert, Tyron Woodley is incomparable. The American Top Team owner thinks the world of the UFC welterweight champion, his longtime friend and an owner of an ATT affiliate in Missouri.
“I probably have more respect for Tyron Woodley than any fighter that has ever stepped foot in our gym,” Lambert said. “He’s as stand up a guy as you’ll ever meet on this planet. So yeah, I love the guy.”
So, you’d imagine that it rubs Lambert the wrong way when another ATT fighter, Colby Covington, goes so hard at Woodley verbally. Some of Covington’s trash talk ventures into personal territory. The end game, of course, is for Covington to be granted a title shot and it is fairly transparent that he is using his mouth to help him get there.
Lambert doesn’t like what Covington has said about Woodley — everything from being a boring fighter to playing the victim card to being fake. Lambert doesn’t like it one bit. But he understands what Covington is doing and he won’t tell him to cut it out.
“I hate what he says about T-Wood,” Lambert said. “Like I said, I’ve got a shit ton of respect for T-Wood. But Colby wants a title shot. That’s what he’s there for. He’s in this business to try and get a title fight. If he wants to talk trash, because he thinks that’s gonna help him get a title shot, it’s not my position to say you can or cannot do that. I’m not his dad. We train him. That’s what we do. That’s it.”
Covington, 29, came under fire for his controversial post-fight comments after beating Demian Maia last weekend at UFC Sao Paulo. The California native called the Brazilian crowd “filthy animals.” Many Brazilian fighters at American Top Team were irate at Covington.
Lambert is taking a similar tact with regards to Woodley. He doesn’t love what Covington said, but he isn’t going to police his speech, either.
“Do I approve of it?” Lambert said. “There’s other ways to sell fights. If it’s something that I feel the need that I need to correct him or fire him or try to get him kicked out of the UFC or my job? If I kicked out every douchebag off my team or somebody who said something stupid, I’d have six fighters at my gym.”
As far as Covington and Woodley go, Lambert said they could be given the chance to settle their beef. MMA is one of the sports where that kind of comeuppance is not just available, but lauded.
“If T-Wood doesn’t like it, f*ck I don’t blame him for not liking it,” Lambert said. “He’ll have an opportunity to try to smash his f*cking head in if they ever fight. He’s in the right profession to try to do something about it if he doesn’t like it, should Colby ever earn that title shot. He may or he may not. What more am I gonna say?”