Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
The always outspoken former interim welterweight champion put on a dominant performance to overwhelm his ex-best friend and training partner en route to a lopsided unanimous decision victory.
Despite his personal feelings, Askren expected the fight to play out the way it did but he also can’t ignore the gross way that Covington has continued to market himself while seemingly irritating just about every athlete on the entire UFC roster.
“Colby’s good,” Askren said on The MMA Hour. “I don’t really like Colby. I’m going to give Colby some advice and this is actually good advice.
“If Colby wasn’t such a dips***, he fights really hard. There’s nothing to not really like. He comes forward. He works his butt off the whole fight. I think if he just said ‘I’m me, I’m a hard working dude who likes wrestling, came from the Pacific Northwest and I like to fight hard,’ I think he would get a lot better reception.”
Of course, Covington has long since embraced the brash demeanor he developed after he claims the UFC told him there was no interest in retaining his services back when his contract was nearing its end ahead of his fight with Demian Maia.
That’s when Covington took a page from professional wrestling and started his heel persona as he attacked the entire country of Brazil while also taking shots at teammates and just about anybody else who managed to cross paths with him.
Covington’s volatility eventually put him at odds with Masvidal and seemingly everybody else at American Top Team in Florida before leaving that gym to join forces with the coaches at MMA Masters in nearby Miami.
Following his win over Masvidal this past Saturday night, Covington continued to take aim at his former team while calling out Dustin Poirier after they had exchanged words both inside and outside the gym.
While Poirier is a lightweight, Askren actually praised Covington for that choice because it checks all the boxes for what he should want in his career right now.
“Great callout,” Askren said. “I mean obviously they’ve been in the gym, he knows he’s probably really, really likely to win it.
“Poirier’s probably a top 10 name in the UFC at this point given the fact that he’s beaten [Conor] McGregor twice. So huge name, easy win. You can’t ask for anything better than that.”
An argument could easily be made that Covington would be better served waiting to face the winner in the upcoming fight between Gilbert Burns and Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273 because that fight could put him that much closer to another shot at the welterweight title.
Askren believes otherwise because with Covington already dropping two fights to reigning champion Kamaru Usman, he knows it’s going to take more than a win or two in order to justify a trilogy.
That’s why a big money showdown against Poirier makes even more sense.
“Colby can’t call out anyone above him cause he’s already had two shots at Marty (Kamaru Usman),” Askren said. “Dana [White] said he can get that shot again but it’s going to take a little bit. It’s not going to happen right away.
“So who else are you going to call out? But again, big attention, easy win, that’s what you want.”