The UFC’s #8 welterweight, Colby Covington, spoke with Bloody Elbow to discuss his UFC Sao Paulo bout with Demian Maia, goals to get the belt before the end of 2018, and why he thinks Tyron Woodley is so hated.
Surging UFC welterweight contender Colby Covington is gearing up for the biggest fight of his professional career, as the #8 welterweight is heading to UFC Sao Paulo on October 28, 2017 to square off with the UFC’s #3 ranked Demian Maia. Covington intends on making Maia pay for blocking his best friend, Jorge Masvidal, from a title shot, and with a win, he also hopes to be next in line for a crack at the champ, Tyron Woodley. Before bringing his 4-fight winning streak with him to Brazil, Covington caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss his Stun Gun fight in Singapore, breakdown his matchup with Maia, and why he thinks the UFC doesn’t like their champion Tyron Woodley.
- On picking a 30-25 score over Dong Hyun Kim at UFC Fight Night 111 in Singapore:
“I would say that there’s some good things I took from it. I completely outclassed him. I showed I’m on a different level than these guys right now. You just can’t hang with my pace, and I’m continually evolving and my striking is coming along. I’m going to start putting guys away, and it starts with Demian Maia in 3 weeks. I’m going to knock him out.”
- What was the most unique thing you saw while in Singapore?
“Singapore was a blast, man. Probably the most unique thing I saw was the infinity pool they had on top of the hotel that we stayed at. We stayed at The Sands, which is like a famous hotel around the world, and all the fighters and stuff would go to the infinity pool. They had that ledge that hangs off, and you can kind of see the overlook of the city and all of the buildings and stuff. So, that was really cool. Singapore is a great place; they have some cool gardens by the bay, where you can go in there and they have these little gardens and stuff. So, Singapore was probably the funnest experience I’ve ever had traveling.”
- You’ve already fought in Brazil once for the UFC; are you stoked to travel back to South America?
“Yeah, definitely! I’m super stoked! The women over there are beautiful, so I’m hoping I can go over there and find myself a rental wife or something, maybe a sugar mama or something.”
- Do you have any concerns over the Brazilian judges?
“Yeah, absolutely. That’s always a factor. There’s been rigged judges there in the past, where guys that fought for Brazil on that card, and the Brazilian judges, they lost the fight, clearly, but they got the nod. That’s always a factor you think about, but I train very hard. I trained to finish Demian Maia, so I’m not going to leave it in the judges hands. I’m going to go out there and I’m going to finish Demian Maia. I’m going to make a statement, and I’m going to get my shot against Tyron Woodley.”
- Your best friend and teammate, Jorge Masvidal, lost a close split decision to Demian Maia in his last fight. Was that almost like a dry run for your match with Maia?
“I learned a lot from that fight, and there’s a lot of things I took away from it. We sat down when he got back, and he was pretty bummed about it, but we sat down and put everything on the table. We talked about what went wrong, what he could have worked on, where he felt like Maia’s strength is at, which is mainly the half guard and the Jiu-Jitsu game. We’ve moved past that and I learned a lot from that. I’m also a different fighter than Jorge, so getting to my back and taking me down is a whole other level of skill that you’re going to have to have. I learned a lot from that loss from Jorge, and I’m going to make him pay for blocking my boy from getting a title shot. I promise you that. It’s going to be Maia’s retirement, and it’s near Halloween, so they’re going to call it the Nightmare in Sao Paulo.”
- Were there any takeaways from Maia’s championship fight with Tyron Woodley at UFC 214?
“I saw a lot of stuff that Woodley did, and I’ve learned a lot from the way Woodley fought in that fight. There was a lot I took away on both sides. On Maia’s side, he was fighting, he was trying to get a takedown, he was trying to put it in his game field. Woodley, he’s just doing what he does. He just backs up and tries to explode 1 punch. He plays it safe. He plays it conservative. He’s not out there trying to finish guys. I learned a lot from that fight, and it’s going to be a completely different fight with me, than it was Woodley. In my mind, I do have a lot higher wrestling than Woodley. We’ve wrestled before, and it wasn’t competitive, and that’s honest.”
- Striking with Demian Maia?
“I could tie one hand behind my back and still beat him in a striking contest. He has pathetic striking. Yeah, his striking is effective when it’s against guys that are worried about takedowns. You think I’m worried about him taking me down? He has J.V. [junior varsity] level takedowns. Those takedowns aren’t going to work against an All American wrestler who’s been defending takedowns since he was 5 years old. I’m a completely evolved fighter. I dropped Dong Hyun Kim, last fight, 3 times, almost finished him with a knockout. He’s a pretty vicious striker; he’s knocked out a lot of good fighters and a lot of good strikers in the UFC. My striking is sneaky good, people are sleeping on it, and that’s what’s going to happen this fight; I’m going to sleep Demian Maia for all the people that have slept on your striking in the past.”
- Masvidal found himself in trouble when Maia would pull guard, and Masvidal hung out in top position, ultimately getting swept. Being an all American Wrestler, how will you prevent Maia from finding similar success from the same position.
“I don’t want to giveaway my gameplan too much from that position. You just got to beat a guy like that to the underhooks. He’s looking to get to the underhooks, and get the arm around the back so he can do a half guard sweep and do all of that kind of stuff. I’ve seen that; he’s a one-trick pony. He only has one set of moves that he uses to get to the back, and that’s about all he’s got. I mean, he’s got some good Jiu-Jitsu, but this is 2017, guys know how to stop Jiu-Jitsu.”
- Demian Maia just fought for the title; in your opinion, does a win over him warrant you a title shot?
“Yes. 100% it does. He’s the last direct guy that fought for the title. The other guys up there at the top, [Robbie] Lawler got knocked out in 40 seconds, so that can’t sell that fight again. Stephen Thompson already lost twice. Demian Maia is the last guy coming off of a title fight, so I do feel like it warrants a title shot. And I don’t think the UFC likes Woodley. They’re not selling him; they’re not promoting him because he’s a phony, fake champ. He claims the victim role all of the time, ‘oh people are racist, that’s why they don’t want to see me fight.’ No, nobody wants to see you fight because you play the safe game. You back up, back up, and do this. So, I think I do get the next shot at Tyron Woodley, because the UFC wants a young hungry guy like me that’s going to go out there and take the strap. I am the new Don of the welterweight. This is my division now.”
- If for some reason the welterweight title shot is unavailable, would you want to sit out and wait, or pick up another fight and stay active?
“I’ll do whatever the UFC wants me to do. I don’t like the wait and play game. I like fighting, man. I didn’t get into this sport not to fight. I enjoy fighting; I actually enjoy getting in the cage. I’m not like Rafael “Fake” dos Anjos who’s, ‘oh I’m just going to wait for my title shot.’ … I’m not like that. I’ll fight anyone they put in front of me, man. I’m here to fight and prove that I’m the best in the world.”
- If/When you become the UFC’s welterweight champion, will you grant your first title shot to your brother Jorge Masvidal?
“That’s tough. If he wants it. This is something that we’ve talked about since 7 years ago, when we were young in the game. We talked about being #1 and #2 in the world, and only fighting for a world title shot. That’s where the real money is at; it’s at the title and the pay-per-view and this and that. If that’s the most exciting fight that the fans want to see, and the UFC wants, and Jorge wants, or vice versa. If he has the title and I’m coming for him, so. If it has to happen then it has to happen, that’s destiny, but we’ll see what happens. I’m just focused on Demian Maia, and then I’m focused on Tyron Woodley.”
Watch Colby Covington throw down with Demian Maia, at UFC Fight Night 119 on October 28, 2017. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!