Three years after fighting in Brazil for the first time, Colby Covington returns a different man.
Covington, who calls himself “the best welterweight in the world right now," is set to take on Demian Maia in the co-main event of UFC Sao Paulo on Oct. 28, and doesn’t see the grappling wizard as such a complicated style of opponent to prepare for.
"It’s a pretty easy fight to train for,” Covington told MMA Fighting, calling the Brazilian a "one trick pony". "To be honest, I’m training for Tyron Woodley."
“Chaos" was 26 years old when he took on Wagner Silva in Goiania, Brazil, in 2014, and scored a third-round submission finish. With five wins over his next six bouts, the American Top Team product flies back to the country looking to earn a shot at the UFC welterweight champion.
"I’m gonna finish Demian Maia. I’m gonna dominate, dismantle Demian Maia,” Covington said. "The different between me and Tyron Woodley is that Tyron Woodley fights nervous, he fights scared. He doesn’t wanna get tired, so the thing with Tyron Woodley is the he doesn’t know how to push the pace, he doesn’t have cardio. He doesn’t have heart. He has a heart, but he doesn’t have heart. There’s a difference.
"When me and Demian Maia fight, I’m gonna completely destroy him with my grappling after he wears down, and I’m gonna beat him way more than Tyron Woodley did."
Maia is competing for the first time since losing a five-round bout with Woodley at UFC 214, snapping his impressive 7-fight winning streak, and Covington believes that scoring a big finish in Sao Paulo should be enough to put him up next against “The Chosen One."
"Yeah, 100 percent. After I finish Demian Maia, lay him to rest in his home country Sao Paulo, Brazil, I do believe I’m next for the title against Tyron Woodley,” Covington said. "Demian is the last fighter to fight Tyron Woodley for the title, and when I go out there and beat Demian Maia more impressively than Tyron Woodley I do believe I’m next for the title shot.”
“(Woodley) used to be with my team but he’s with Duke Roufus now. He’s not my teammate. I hate the guy, we have bad blood. I used to beat his a** and wipe the mat at American Top Team with him before. I’m gonna wipe the mat of the UFC Octagon with Tyron Woodley and prove the crown is mine."
Twelve days before the UFC Sao Paulo co-main event was booked, Covington posted a message for Maia on his Instagram. "Let's raise the stakes. Loser has to retire.”
"That’s still on,” he told MMA Fighting. "Loser must leave town and retire.”
Asked if he truly believes that Maia will stop fighting after UFC Sao Paulo, Covington took a shot at the whole country after the Brazilian national soccer team's historic 7-1 loss to Germany at the 2014 World Cup semifinal.
"He doesn’t think it is his last fight, but when he enters that Octagon with me October 28th in Sao Paulo, Brazil, he’s gonna find out that that will be his last fight,” Covington said. "He’s gonna want another job. He’s not gonna want this job after I humiliate him in front of his whole country. It’s gonna be a worse ass beating for Brazil than they took against Germany in the World Cup."