UFC welterweight Colby Covington has made nearly every big name in mixed martial arts his target as of late. And now he’s focused on the biggest name out there. Heading into his interim title fight versus Rafael dos Anjos at June 9’s UFC 225 from Chicago, Covington clapped back at the circling suggestions that he […]
UFC welterweight Colby Covington has made nearly every big name in mixed martial arts his target as of late.
And now he’s focused on the biggest name out there.
Heading into his interim title fight versus Rafael dos Anjos at June 9’s UFC 225 from Chicago, Covington clapped back at the circling suggestions that he was simply copying former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor’s style in an interview with BJ Penn Radio, and to no surprise, he claimed he was here to be his own unique supervillain – not to make friends:
“People, they wanna say I’m mimicking McGregor, I’m mimicking Chael Sonnen. I’m not trying to be anything like them. Does it look like I’m trying to get followers or I’m trying to get fans? I don’t care. I’m not trying to make people happy. I don’t care. You’re gonna be mad, but you will tune in to see me fight ’cause you wanna see me lose. At the end of the day, all these people that wanna say I’m trying to mimic another person, no. I’m unique in my own way. No one’s ever done and went the route I’ve went, full supervillain here.”
Covington then went full-on “Chaos” on McGregor, claiming he used a certain substance. The top-ranked welterweight recently offered to bring McGregor in for his assault charges stemming from his April 5 bus attack on Khabib Nurmagomedov and others in Brooklyn, New York, an over-the-top outburst Covington claims McGregor only did to get back the headlines he was stealing from him:
“He’s a coked-up little Leprechaun. He’s making stupid mistakes, but the thing is, Jason, is that he noticed that King Colby was in the media a lot and in the headlines, and he was losing attention, so he was just trying to steal the headlines back. But at the end of the day, as soon as I put out my tweet that King Colby the bounty hunter was looking for him, he turned himself in. He knows he didn’t wanna get his hands dirty with me.”
Regardless of if he admits he’s copying notorious trash talkers like McGregor and Sonnen, however, he is, just as they built upon the legacies of prominent combats sports smack talkers before them.
It’s a big part of the fight game, and Covington is fully embracing the role of heel to wildly successful results, something that almost assuredly propelled him to title contention much faster than playing a babyface role would have.
Saying he’s stealing McGregor’s headlines is a bit of a stretch, of course, but that’s how he’s gotten this far, so no need to stop now. After so many callouts and so much smack, the pressure’s now on Covington to win the title versus the surging ‘RDA’ in Chicago next month.
It’s been exactly one month since former UFC champ Conor McGregor stormed UFC 223 media day in Brooklyn, New York and threw a metal dolly through a bus containing current lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov. The attack injured both fighters and employees, resulting in three fights being called off UFC 223 and leading to McGregor’s arrest […]
It’s been exactly one month since former UFC champ Conor McGregor stormed UFC 223 media day in Brooklyn, New York and threw a metal dolly through a bus containing current lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The attack injured both fighters and employees, resulting in three fights being called off UFC 223 and leading to McGregor’s arrest and detainment on assault charges, for which he’ll next appear in court on June 14.
A clear black eye on the sport of mixed martial arts, the incident was met with the predictable mix of disgust, doubt, and bewilderment after MMA’s biggest star essentially went off the rails to assault a man he could have confronted almost anywhere and injuring innocent bystanders in the process. Indeed, UFC president Dana White derided the attack as the ‘most disgusting thing’ to ever happen in the UFC, but he’s since backtracked on that a bit with it being painfully obvious the UFC needs him to fight, and fight soon.
While it’s not a straightforward approval from White, yet another prominent MMA personality gave some much more forceful support of McGregor.
In a recent interview with Submission Radio (via Bloody Elbow) when former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten stuck up for the Irish star by saying we weren’t his shoes and he simply got caught in the moment:
“We are not in Conor McGregor’s shoes. You know? People can shout what they want, they have no clue what goes on,” Rutten said. “I think once people realize that you have 50 million dollars – he gets mail all day long from people with sick babies and sick kids and my grandma and everybody wants him to give money and so on.
“I mean, he doesn’t only have money, he is super famous on top of that. I know the stupid stuff I did when I was 28 – I didn’t do that, okay, but you know, he has a group around him and he was already angry going in because they wanted to strip him of the title and he’s angry and now the partner, his friends, start saying, ‘hey, maybe we should throw something against them’. Like, ‘yeah,’ everybody starts agreeing. Yeah, you get caught up in the whole moment and you start doing it.”
Maybe being filthy rich isn’t the best excuse for attacking innocent fighters and people trying to make their living, even if others are asking McGregor for money on a regular basis after his monstrous purse to box Floyd Mayweather.
That’s exactly what has left McGregor out of the octagon and causing trouble in public, however, so it would seem the key to redemption for him would simply lie in returning to the octagon and finally fighting for the first time since November 2016. He’s accomplished a ton for the UFC and MMA, that much is true, and Rutten cautioned that even despite the backlash he received online, we should focus on what he’s done rather than his recent mistakes:
“That’s why I said when I was with Joe Rogan, I said, guys, we should give him a pass. And people online, they were like, is he crazy? I’m not saying that (you excuse everything),” Rutten explained. “I’m saying, yes, he’s going to have to pay for what he did, he goes to court, he has to do all that. I’m not saying that (he doesn’t do those things). Of course, he has to – and I said that on Joe Rogan as well – but give him a pass as a fan. Don’t kick the guy while he’s down. Don’t throw him under the bus. He did so much good for MMA. He just needs to find his way in this world.”
“I hope they just … give him a pass, don’t spit him out yet. Let him see if he cleans up. I mean, you give Jon Jones a lot of passes. And me too, I love Jon Jones, I want to see him back. He’s such a talent that is gone and I want to see him fight. This could be a guy that could literally go undefeated his entire life. So yeah, I would love to see a guy like that back.”
The mixed martial arts (MMA) world has been abuzz this week with the news that Nate Diaz will reportedly return to action at August’s UFC 227. As usual, however, Dana White is cautioning us to pump the brakes. According to the UFC president via Yahoo’s Kevin Iole, the news of Diaz is no news, because the […]
As usual, however, Dana White is cautioning us to pump the brakes.
According to the UFC president via Yahoo’s Kevin Iole, the news of Diaz is no news, because the promotion has been offering him a fight every three to four months as they have been since he faced Conor McGregor at UFC 202 in 2016, and it’s the same denial it’s always been:
Also, @danawhite didn’t seem to think much of the news about UFC negotiating a fight with Nate Diaz. “We offer him a fight every 3 or 4 months and have ever since his last fight. Nothing is going on.”
So White insists that Diaz isn’t coming back anytime soon and that there’s nothing to see here.
So interesting, in fact, that some would interpret that as an almost certain confirmation that Diaz will indeed be returning to the octagon sometime very soon. If and when he does, it would seem likely he’s matched up with one of a trio of top-ranked lightweights consisting of Kevin Lee, Dustin Poirier, and Eddie Alvarez.
All three of those fighters are elite lightweights who have won recent bouts by stoppage; Diaz hasn’t fought at lightweight since late 2015.
Earlier this week, news arrived that absent UFC fan favorite Nate Diaz was in serious talks to finally make his return at August 4’s UFC 227 from Los Angeles, California. The report was met wit ha mixed bag of reactions ranging from extreme excitement and optimism to a tentative sense of uncertainty based on the […]
The report was met wit ha mixed bag of reactions ranging from extreme excitement and optimism to a tentative sense of uncertainty based on the many stop-and-start, so-called returns Diaz was supposed to be making in the nearly two years since he last set foot into the cage to face Conor McGregor for a second time, losing a close majority decision at August 2016’s UFC 202.
But the overall consensus in MMA media circles that this was indeed the time Diaz was seriously considering coming back to for the pay-per-view event in his home state of California. Speculation about him facing a trio of top lightweights including Eddie Alvarez, Dustin Poirier, and Kevin Lee began to swirl, and there’s little doubt that each match-up would provide its own benefits both in and out of the cage.
Each fight would be huge – make no mistake about that – because Diaz has the pre-installed attention of his feud with McGregor. The heat for their oft-discussed trilogy bout has cooled quite substantially due to the inactivity of both fighters, and while it could still happen one day, it’d be foolish to book it right now rather than striking when the iron was once again heated up. So Diaz will most likely fight one of the three aforementioned lightweights if and when he does return, yet it’s simply fair to ask if he can still hang with the top of the UFC’s most talented division at this point in time.
The story revealed that both McGregor and champion Khabib Nurmagomedov were not two of the names rumored to be facing Diaz. We know he can hang with McGregor and then some; most of his mainstream appeal obviously grew out of his shocking second-round submission over the Irishman at UFC 196, and he followed it with a narrow loss in a fight some thought he should have had his hand raised. Nurmagomedov, on the other hand, would be a completely different story with his relentless takedowns and smothering top game. He won’t be fighting Diaz soon, however, so we’ll discuss that at a later date.
So the issue in Diaz’s return to lightweight supremacy lies in his ability to defeat No. 5 Lee, No. 4 Poirier, and No. 3 Alvarez.
First of all, Diaz hasn’t competed in the lightweight division (his two bouts against McGregor were at welterweight) since he looked great while winning a unanimous decision over Michael “The Menace” Johnson in December 2015. Although a powerful striker who knocked out Poirier himself, Johnson is now unranked in the lightweight division and has recently cut down to featherweight, losing his first 145-pound bout to unlikely contender Darren Elkins. He’s lost five of his last six bouts.
If he came back against Lee, it would be an entertaining, trash talk-filled buildup, but also the worst match-up for him. Diaz has had trouble against those with dominant, stifling top games, namely in his bouts against former lightweight champions Rafael dos Anjos and Benson Henderson. Lee doesn’t yet have the striking versatility of “Smooth,” but he’s rapidly improving into his athletic prime at 25, and his blanketing wrestling game is more dominant and stoppage-focused than Henderson’s was in his prime.
Lee has won six out of his past seven fights and has never looked better than he did battering Edson Barboza in the main event of April 21’s UFC Atlantic City. He’s also the lowest ranked of the three potential opponents and has yet to break through as a true star (not due to lack of effort on his part, however), so a match-up with “The Motown Phenom” probably isn’t the best choice for Diaz right now.
A bout with the No. 4-ranked “Diamond” could be a significantly better one. Although Poirier has won three out of his last four fights, seven of his past nine, and is coming off of a rousing stoppage win over Justin Gaethje on April 14, his style would play into Diaz’ skills the best.
Poirier is often lured into slugfests, evident by the sheer amount of damage he took from Gaethje and many others, and he rarely stops coming forward throwing high-volume power punches. Diaz would gladly oblige him to throw down in a draining boxing match on the feet because while he’s not known for his power, he is one of the best volume punchers in MMA and his cardio obviously never slows down.
The more I think about this fight, the more I believe it would be an absolute treat for fans and a perfect addition to UFC 227.
There’s Alvarez, the former champion who claims he hasn’t been offered a Diaz fight and won’t be competing until he gets a new contract anyway. A former UFC champion who had no title defenses, Alvarez is coming off of his own rousing victory over Gaethje at last December’s UFC 218, but with constant calling out of “The Eagle” and his refusal to fight, it’s anyone’s guess as to when and against whom he’ll come back. He does have the most built-in backstory with Diaz, however, as the two were linked to a bout that Alvarez claims the Stockton star turned down (like many other top contenders in the lightweight division have lately).
It sounds like a lot of demands from a man who’s 1-1(1) in his last three, but the UFC will most likely come to an agreement with Alvarez eventually, and seeing him face Diaz with a potential title shot on the line would be an exciting bout. Alvarez has the striking to mix it up with anyone, but he’s also shown the ability to make fights ugly (read: boring) in order to pick up the win as he did in his bouts against Diaz’ teammate Gilbert Melendez and fellow former champion Anthony Pettis.
As noted, Diaz has been susceptible to those kinds of fighters in before, so a bout with him could turn into an ugly affair if Alvarez chooses to play it safe and get a huge win. Nevertheless, it’d be a great match-up with an awesome build-up.
Finally, there’s the welterweight match-up with returning champ Tyron Woodley. Even though it’s ridiculous to think Diaz would deserve a title shot a weight class above his usual after a loss almost two years ago, it could still happen. Woodley is returning from shoulder surgery, and while the UFC will crown an interim champion when Rafael dos Anjos meets Colby Covington at June’s UFC 225 from Chicago, “The Chosen One” has stated he wants to return sometime soon – most likely sooner than the winner of dos Anjos vs. Covington would.
So Woodley vs. Diaz could become a reality. if it did, Diaz would be at a severe disadvantage to the champion, an NCAA wrestler who walks around at upwards of 200 pounds. He’s one of the hardest hitters in the world as well, and while Diaz has a respected chin, taking shots from larger fighters like the welterweight champ after a two-year layoff does not predict to end well for the younger Diaz brother.
Regardless, it’d be a huge spectacle of a fight that would make UFC 227 must-see TV, something that can’t be said about the majority of UFC programming – at least in the eyes of most – over the past two years.
So Diaz may or may not be able to hang with the top wrestlers at lightweight, and he has less of a chance to beat Woodley in that area of MMA. No matter what, people would tune in with excitement to watch Diaz’ return, so maybe it doesn’t matter how he matches up with the big names at 155 pounds.
Just don’t be surprised to see his legions of faithful fans let down.
In the weeks after former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor was arrested on assault charges in Brooklyn, New York, for throwing a metal dolly through a bus containing current champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, the MMA world has been awaiting just what will happen to “The Notorious.” UFC President Dana White recently stated that the […]
In the weeks after former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor was arrested on assault charges in Brooklyn, New York, for throwing a metal dolly through a bus containing current champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, the MMA world has been awaiting just what will happen to “The Notorious.”
UFC President Dana White recently stated that the UFC would have to wait to see what the court did to him first, and it’s speculated that the world’s MMA leader will do little if anything to do their biggest star in hopes of booking him for a lucrative megafight with the undefeated Russian champion sometime later this year or in early 2019.
‘The Notorious’ certainly faces some harrowing charges at first glance, yet the general consensus from those with experience in the field is that he’s unlikely to serve any jail time as the charges are his first offense on American soil. One such subscriber to that theory is criminal and civil lawyer Dmitry Shakhnevich, who has worked in Brooklyn and recently told Bloody Elbow’s Victor Rodriguez that McGregor probably won’t serve any jail time at all:
So he’s charged with felonies and misdemeanors. The felonies are serious crimes by definition. He’s charged with the low-level felonies, right? There are five levels of felonies in New York, he’s charged with the two lowest, D and E (note: New York classifies felonies on an A through E basis, in order of severity).”
“So he’s not looking at, in Brooklyn, generally, you wouldn’t get jail time for this, especially if it’s your first offense, which I understand this is. So, what’ll likely happen is he’ll probably get it reduced to either a misdemeanor or maybe even a non-criminal disposition, though that’s unlikely.
“I don’t think he’ll serve any jail time at all. Again, that’s highly unlikely. I think he’ll probably be sentenced to some form of community service or something of that nature, and the case will go away.”
It sounds like some incredibly lax treatment for a shocking assault that left two fighters injured and unable to compete at April 7’s UFC 223, yet McGregor obviously has the money and influence to hire the right lawyers to get him out of trouble.
He could need them for a different aspect of the case according to Shakhnevich, who revealed the lesser-discussed aspect of a conviction impacting his immigration status:
“The issue is immigration. If by way of a guilty plea he’s convicted of a misdemeanor, that can have immigration consequences. I don’t think it will – I think his lawyers will craft something creative to work around that. But that’s really what you have to look out for here.”
Shakhnevich then detailed how a conviction could affect McGregor’s status to travel to and from America, noting that his offenses would likely plead down to the lowest level and ultimately not affect his immigration status:
“Well, again – the way that criminal convictions impact immigration status, there are no black and white rules. Generally speaking, if you’re convicted of a misdemeanor. right? Which is a low-level offense, the lowest level offense in in New York in terms of crime.
“Typically that one misdemeanor – again, typically – will fall under the petty offense exception which basically allows the person to travel in and out. So I don’t think unless it’s some specific type of misdemeanor, I don’t think that’ll have an impact on his immigration status.
“But again, it’s something his lawyers have to look out for. They should probably engage immigration counsel, because they’re criminal lawyers.”
A close friend of Nate Diaz just claimed the Stockton star wasn’t only looking for a Conor McGregor trilogy in his return bout, and that scenario is reportedly developing rapidly. A report surfaced from ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto that Diaz and the UFC are in talks for a high-profile return for Diaz at August 4’s UFC 227 […]
A report surfaced from ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto that Diaz and the UFC are in talks for a high-profile return for Diaz at August 4’s UFC 227 event from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Diaz supposedly wants to return at the event in his home state and is also interested in one of the names the UFC has given him after turning down many top opponents in recent months.
According to MMA Fighting, however, neither of those names is Conor McGregor or Khabib Nurmagomedov, so Diaz would likely be matched with a top 155-pound contender like Eddie Alvarez, Dustin Poirier, or Kevin Lee.
There’s also the possibility, of course, that Diaz stays at welterweight, where he fought McGregor twice at in 2016, and meets welterweight champ Tyron Woodley in “The Chosen One’s” return from shoulder surgery last year. The fight has been discussed over the past year or so, and Woodley has repeatedly made it overtly apparent he wants a lucrative fight with a Diaz brother – be it Nick or Nate.
Out of action since his thin majority decision loss to McGregor at August 2016’s UFC 202, Diaz hinted at a comeback in “May-June” earlier this year. He’s reportedly turned down several fights with the top-ranked lightweights during his latest sit on the side, so the UFC must have come with a suitable amount of cash to bring the popular, polarizing Stockton slugger out of his self-imposed hiatus.
There’s been nothing official from the UFC on the awaited return as of yet.
If Diaz does decide to come back at the Calif.-based card, he would add another huge name to an event that already has an anticipated, bad blood-fueled rematch between bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw and former champion Cody Garbrandt.