Newly minted interim UFC welterweight champion Colby Covington has built a solid reputation as the guy that people love to hate. So what did former middleweight champion Michael Bisping do while interviewing Covington after he won the belt at UFC 225? He egged him on, of course.
“He came right hot out of the gate,” Bisping said on a recent edition of his “Believe You Me” podcast. “I get it, the guy’s charged, and he’s kind of made a career out of being controversial and whatnot. Maybe if I could do it again, I’d calm down, I’d bring it down just a notch.”
That wasn’t how it went, however, and the two exchanged some heated barbs, but again, Bisping said he was really just playing into how Covington portrays himself.
“Colby Covington, he’s Mr. Controversy. Everywhere he goes he tries to create controversy. For crying out loud, he tweets out spoilers to the new ‘Star Wars’ movies and things like that,” said Bisping.
“So when he came on, the first thing he did was, ‘(Expletive) you guys up there on the panel. Kiss my ass. You all picked me to lose.’ So, I thought, ‘Okay, here we go. We’ve got Colby Covington in rare form. This is what he likes to do.’ So I thought maybe I’d be a sparring partner for him.”
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Bisping, however, was in his role as a Fox Sports analyst at the time, which is a little different than being someone’s opponent, hyping up a fight. He took some public criticism for the back-and-forth with Covington, most notably from UFC commentator Jon Anik, who felt that Bisping was out of line talking the way he did in his role as an analyst.
“(It) was disgraceful,” Anik tweeted. “It’s Colby’s night and moment. Pretty stunning that they’d allow an analyst to steal his shine.
“Not the analyst’s job to antagonize a fighter who has just won a UFC title.”
Though it might be expected that Bisping would then have entered into an exchange with Anik, he didn’t. To the contrary, the only issue Bisping had with what Anik said is the forum with which he used to say it.
Bisping is an aspiring commentator, taking on a role on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series similar to what Anik does for UFC events. So he knows that he has a lot to learn from the veteran broadcaster.
“Those comments stung a little bit,” Bisping said. “If you’ve got a problem, maybe just shoot me a text, maybe give me some advice. Maybe try and guide me along.”
He stressed that there is no bad blood between him and Anik.
“There’s no beef. I respect Jon greatly. I respect him as a commentator, I respect him as a professional, and as a person. I truly do.”