The always outspoken two-time welterweight title contender revealed on Wednesday that reigning champion Kamaru Usman is the least of his concerns right now. His plans instead are to go after another former American Top Team teammate for his next fight.
“I could care less who wins [between Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards],” Covington said during UFC 272 media day. “I’m just worried about my business on Saturday night and handling another personal beef with Dustin Poirier next. That fight needs to happen. He’s talked too reckless in the media.”
The rivalry between Covington and Poirier began while they were both training under the same roof at ATT in Florida, but the disdain between them has escalated in recent months.
In response, Poirier said he would never fight Covington in the UFC where “finances are on the line,” but noted that if they fight, “we’re both going to jail — I’m going to jail.”
After hearing those comments, Covington only doubled down on his criticism of Poirier while continuing to call out the former UFC interim lightweight champion.
“Now he said, ‘It’s on sight,’” Covington said. “The last time he was talking to you clickbait merchants, he was saying, ‘Oh, I’m not going to fight Colby in the octagon, where there’s finances on the line. I’m going to fight him in the streets and we’re both going to go to jail.’ It’s funny. It’s very ironic because he talks about being a family guy, a good guy, but he wants to fight me in the streets and potentially go away from his family.
“Dustin Poirier has all these stipulations to fight me. I just have one stipulation. My one stipulation is he lets the world watch and enjoy themselves.”
Aside from his beef with Poirier, Covington also took exception to comments made by American Top Team owner Dan Lambert while appearing on The MMA Hour on Wednesday about the “ingredient” he added to the persona he created in order to get more attention.
Covington has previously revealed on numerous occasions that the UFC planned to let him exit the promotion after his scheduled fight against Demian Maia back in 2017, but instead he went nuclear on the crowd in Brazil, which quickly made him one of the most polarizing characters in the sport.
“I didn’t take Dan Lambert for a liar but I still respect the guy, but he’s definitely lying,” Covington said. “It had nothing to do with Dan Lambert. I decided to make that decision on my own. After Singapore, he never told me going into my fight with Demian Maia that I needed to do something or change something because the UFC was going to cut me. They said no matter what — they told Dan behind closed doors, ‘We have no use for Colby, he’s not entertaining, he doesn’t draw tickets, so no matter what he does in the fight with Demian Maia, we’re not going to re-sign him.’
“Dan never told me that. He didn’t tell me until after the fight, but I went out there and took my destiny in my own hands and created something bigger than life.”
Part of the reason Covington split with American Top Team was due to the growing volatility with Masvidal, which led to Lambert actually kicking both of them out of the gym.
Masvidal was allowed to return, but Covington says he had no desire to go back and he’s happier than ever with that decision.
“I upgraded. I got a better gym [at MMA Masters],” Covington said. “Jorge forgets to leave out the facts. He got kicked out as well. We both got kicked out, but there was only one guy that went begging back, ‘Oh Dan, please take me back, please,’ and of course Dan invited him back. Dan invited me back as well, but I decided, no, I’m better off with Cesar Carneiro. I’m better off with Daniel Valverde.
“I’m only getting better every single fight and you see that every time I step into the octagon. I’m thankful that this separation happened with my old gym and now I have the best coaches in the world.”