Folks, we now live in a world in which Colby Covington has a UFC belt.
The outspoken welterweight picked up the interim championship with a unanimous-decision win over former 155-pound titleholder Rafael dos Anjos in the UFC 225 co-main event. The card took place Saturday night at United Center in Chicago.
Covington was aggressive from start to finish, and that’s ultimately what won him the biggest fight of his rising career. He pushed the pace against the Brazilian, backing him up against the fence and taking him down several times over the course of 25 minutes.
It seemed to throw dos Anjos off; he only was able to land single shots in many exchanges, while Covington connected with flurries of punches and kicks because he was moving forward for much of the fight.
Dos Anjos was down heading into the championship rounds, but he made the fourth frame very interesting — it was his best round of the five-round bout. The Jason Parillo-trained athlete turned it up a notch, landing solid shots and even taking Covington down himself a couple times.
But it wasn’t enough. Covington won at least three rounds on all three judges’ scorecards, giving him the victory and the interim title.
What was the highlight of the fight?
Don’t boo me for saying this, but the highlight of the somewhat entertaining fight was that Covington actually backed up his trash talk. If you follow the sport on a regular basis, you’d know by know that the American Top Team product is currently one of the most hated fighters in MMA. Now, of course calling Brazil a dump and its people filthy animals isn’t exactly a nice thing to do; but at least he walks the walk, too? I guess?
I give Covington some credit for that. He keeps looking better and better every time we see him fight.
Where do these two go from here?
So long as he doesn’t suffer a major injury in training, Covington is next in line for UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who is targeting a return in August (but with two title fights already booked for UFC 227 that month, it seems unlikely Woodley will fight then). With Woodley coming off a layoff due to a shoulder injury and Covington making improvements each fight, the Woodley vs. Covington title fight might just be interesting. Either way, certainly the lead-up to it will be.
This is a pretty major setback for dos Anjos, who was previously undefeated at 170 pounds, especially following a massive win over Robbie Lawler in December. Luckily for him, there are a lot of names at the top of the welterweight division, so there won’t be a shortage of next fights for him. To me, a matchup against former title challenger Stephen Thompson makes a lot of sense; it would see who’s still suited to be in the welterweight title mix.
Watch now, later, or never?
There were better fights on the UFC 225 card, but Covington vs. dos Anjos is probably worth skimming through later on.