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Colby Covington says ‘USADA changed the game for’ Rafael dos Anjos in heated exchange

Rafael Dos Anjos
Rafael Dos Anjos fights Tarec Saffiedine on June 17 at UFC Singapore.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Colby Covington didn’t get the fight he wanted against Rafael dos Anjos, but that isn’t slowing his crusade against the former UFC lightweight champion.

Covington, a highly regarded UFC welterweight prospect, campaigned for weeks on social media for the opportunity to welcome dos Anjos into the 170-pound division, including memorably posting a fake image of dos Anjos’ e-mail inbox.

Covington ultimately didn’t get the chance he wanted — he instead was slated to meet Dong Hyun Kim on June 17 at UFC Singapore, while dos Anjos was booked against Tarec Saffiedine on the same card. Nonetheless, this week Covington got the next best thing, as he and dos Anjos appeared in a joint press conference to promote the event, and Covington didn’t let “RDA” forget how things went down.

“I got a bigger fight, a better fight,” Covington told reporters in Singapore (video via Singapore’s The Straits Times). “So, he’s scared. He knows he’s scared, so this is the next best option. A tougher opponent, a guy that’s going to get me closer to the title. I’m the most feared guy in the game right now. I scare the ink out of pens.”

“I have nothing to say,” dos Anjos said when asked for a response. “I’m a former lightweight champion. I thought this gentleman was a Bellator fighter when he was attacking me on social media. I didn’t know who he was. And I think this kind of new generation of MMA fighters, they’re trying to get attention by talking.”

“USADA changed the game for him,” Covington sharply interjected. “So he’s just mad.”

“This new generation is trying,” dos Anjos continued. “I think there’s only one Conor McGregor. You’ve got to be yourself. You can’t try to copy somebody else. Just be yourself.”

Though the two welterweights are not slated to fight each other, UFC Singapore still represents a major moment in both men’s careers.

Covington is widely considered to be one of the more promising prospects in the 170-pound division, and after racking up a 6-1 record over lower ranked competition, his fight against the No. 7 ranked Kim is the 29-year-old’s first chance to shed his prospect label and establish himself a genuine welterweight contender. Dos Anjos, by contrast, is hunting for a change of scenery after losing back-to-back fights against the best at lightweight while battling increasingly difficult weight cuts down to 155 pounds.

And although Covington called him out for weeks on end, dos Anjos is happy with the match-up he ultimately received against Saffiedine, a former Strikeforce champion.

“I didn’t even know who this guy (Covington) was before he [started talking trash],” dos Anjos said. “People know who he is because he’s talking trash, and I don’t think that’s the way to get people to know you. I prefer to show my skills in Octagon.”

But that wasn’t the end of it. By Wednesday night, Covington had already issued his response on Twitter.

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