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Colby Covington vows to finish Tyron Woodley ‘inside three rounds’ in title unification fight

Colby Covington
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Boasting his own championship belt, Colby Covington is one step closer to willing his way into a fight with Tyron Woodley.

While Woodley is officially recognized as the undisputed UFC welterweight champion, Covington positioned himself as the de facto No. 1 contender by outworking Rafael dos Anjos in the co-main event of UFC 225 on Saturday to earn himself an interim welterweight belt.

Covington’s interest in a fight with Woodley, a former training partner at American Top Team, is no secret, and Covington made sure to call “The Chosen One” out immediately following his win over dos Anjos.

Woodley responded to the challenge on social media, apparently looking to accommodate Covington.

At the UFC 225 post-fight press conference, Covington further expressed his disdain for Woodley, accusing him of avoiding a fight in favor of entertainment opportunities in Hollywood.

“The guy’s a fake,” Covington said. “He’s out there spitting bars, you should go listen to that. If you guys think you hate me now, go listen to him try to do his rap album right now. That’s a joke. Besides that, he’s doing his little gossip and stuff in Hollywood, he’s doing these little B-list movie roles that go straight to DVD.

“He’s doing anything but fight. That’s why I’m here. I’m making this welterweight division great again.”

Though Covington has embraced the role of the “bad guy” in the build-up to his recent fights, he isn’t rattled at all by the negative reaction he’s received from a segment of the fans. The crowd at the United Center in Chicago serenaded him with chants of “Colby sucks,” which didn’t appear to affect his performance.

Besides, Covington easily sees that sentiment turning in his favor should a matchup with Woodley materialize.

“I’m probably going to turn into a babyface (professional wrestling parlance for a ‘good guy’) for my next fight because nobody likes Tyron Woodley,” Covington said. “That guy’s too busy gossiping about the Kardashians. He’s in Hollywood on his little TMZ stint, so I think people are going to really embrace me as making this division great again, like I am.”

Covington is looking at a Nov. 3 show in New York at Madison Square Garden as a potential setting for his showdown with Woodley, who he described as “an easy matchup” based on their days working together down in Coconut Creek, Fla.

“I’ve trained hundreds of hundreds of rounds of sparring at American Top Team,” Covington said. “I know how he fights, he’s real predictable. He has his right hand, he’s got no gas tank, he backs up and fights. People are scared of his power, I’m not scared of his power. I’ll go right into his power. I’ll get him in the clinch, I’ll do whatever I want with him. I’ll finish him inside three rounds, mark my words.”

In the occasion that Woodley is not ready to compete by November or decides to decline the unification bout for another reason, Covington is confident that in his reign being considered illegitimate.

The way he sees it, he is the man to beat at 170 pounds, not Woodley.

“This is the undisputed strap,” Covington said. “He had the chance to fight me last December. He was good to fight Nate Diaz, he was good to fight [Georges St-Pierre], but he couldn’t get his money fight and all of a sudden he needs preventative shoulder surgery that he waited eight months to get after Demian Maia.

“This is the real strap, he has the paper strap. Now he knows I’m the money fight. I built that fight. And no one wants to see him, they want to see me.”

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