CHICAGO — You could say CM Punk knows a thing or two about manipulating audiences and promotion. In WWE, he was known as one of the best performers on the microphone of all time.
Colby Covington is currently — and openly — trying to bring a pro-wrestling brand of smack talk to the UFC and is very much embracing being a heel this week ahead of UFC 225. Punk said he has not heard most of the things Covington has said, but has seen clips on social media. He has a small bit of advice for “Chaos.”
“You don’t gotta yell,” Punk said Thursday at media day. “You don’t gotta scream. Just because Hogan did it in ’84 doesn’t mean you’ve gotta do it.”
Covington faces Rafael dos Anjos for the UFC interim welterweight title Saturday night at United Center. All week, he has been exciting the Chicago crowds, first on Wednesday at open workouts and again Friday. He has run down the sports teams who don’t want to visit Donald Trump and the White House and said he’d love to bring the interim title to President Trump. On Wednesday, he said all Chicago sports franchises suck.
It’s fairly obvious Covington is turning up his personality with the hope of getting more eyes on his fights. It has been effective, though grating to some. There’s no doubt Covington is way more well-known today than he was a year ago at this time.
Punk, though, is not sold on how much Covington’s tact is going to work in mixed martial arts. It’s not pro wrestling after all.
“I don’t really don’t think it’s effective any more,” Punk said. “I think you can group it into the umbrella Conor [McGregor] effect. But Conor is a different guy. Conor is a special guy. So Conor can do and say things and get away from them, whereas personally I don’t think a lot of other people can. Conor doesn’t honestly feel like to me like he’s playing a part. Conor is Conor.”
With Covington, Punk said he’s not sure when he’s asked about him if he’s answering about the “guy he only shows in front of the camera or the real guy.” McGregor, Punk said, has a different aura about him.
“Conor is a decent talker,” Punk joked.