Stephen A. Smith | Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
The former teammates and friends-turned-foes headlined UFC 272 in Las Vegas where Covington dominated Masvidal over the five-round bout. “Chaos” used his pace, pressure, and wrestling to his advantage — the latter leaving Smith to wonder what the “BMF” champion’s approach to the fight actually was.
“I saw Masvidal, [he was] gutsy and survived the five rounds, waving Covington on, ‘Come on, let’s get some more, let’s get some more.’ He was literally using two security personnel to lean on because that’s how exhausted he was,” Smith said on First Take. “Covington looked like he was just starting, he was that energized. The guy is in phenomenal shape, he’s an outstanding wrestler, and Masvidal admitted that his wrestling was flat.
“How is it this flat coming into it knowing this guy as well as you know him, and knowing what he was going to try and do to you, and how much you supposedly hate him, how were you not ready for a wrestling match? I don’t understand. It’s inexplicable.”
“Gamebred” has now lost three straight and will go back to the drawing board once again. Covington — No. 2 at welterweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings — continues his successful run in the division against fighters not named Kamaru Usman.
Smith conducted an interview with both fighters simultaneously heading into the bout and admits that one of the major takeaways from that chat is something the former interim champ said in regards to his fighting career.
“One of the things I paid attention to coming into this fight was something that Colby Covington said, because he knew him, they were best friends, former roommates-turned-enemies: Covington said, ‘Masvidal trains for his fights, I live this,’” Smith said.
“What he was talking about is that he’s always in shape. He’s never out of shape, and he’s renowned for his conditioning, the pressure that he’s able to apply, and how he never lets up because he keeps on coming.”