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Dan Lambert: Colby Covington ‘wants to get back and prove that he’s the best’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

There’s no quit in Colby Covington.

Despite suffering a broken jaw in his fight against Kamaru Usman this past weekend at UFC 245, the former interim welterweight champion still pushed through until the fight was stopped with less than a minute remaining in the final round.

Covington told his corner ahead of the fourth round that he likely suffered a broken jaw and a trip to the hospital afterwards revealed a “non-displaced midline mandible fracture.”

The severity of the injury is still to be determined according to American Top Team owner Dan Lambert, who said on Tuesday that Covington plans on seeing a specialist in Florida to determine the next course of action for his damaged jaw.

“He came back to Florida to go see an oral surgeon here to figure out what he wanted to do,” Lambert told MMA Fighting.

“I’m not real familiar with what the different statuses are with the jaw but I know one thing, he’s a tough motherf*cker to fight with it for three rounds in that kind of stand-up war.”

Lambert paid homage to both Covington and Usman for the back-and-forth battle that resulted in the “Fight of the Night” at UFC 245.

“It was a hell of a fight,” Lambert said. “Both those guys, I think both their stock went up after a fight like that, which is typically something you don’t say after a fight. Both guys proved they had balls of steel and cardio for days. I give credit to both of them.”

Ultimately, Covington didn’t make it to the final bell after he was dropped twice in the fifth round and referee Marc Goddard stepped in following the second knockdown to stop the fight. Covington complained on social media that Goddard pulled the trigger too early when he was still defending himself as Usman was going for the finish.

For his part, Lambert agrees that the fight probably could have continued but the result may have still been the same either way.

“He wasn’t going to win the fifth round after getting dropped,” Lambert stated. “The fight was even going into it so whoever won the fifth round was going to win the fight. So was it the greatest stoppage? Not really. It’s not like he was taking a bunch of damage but he wasn’t going to get the decision after it with the remaining 50 seconds unless something crazy happened.

“Can something crazy happen? I guess it can. The week before one of our other guys [Jairzinho Rozenstruik] got a knockout on [Alistair] Overeem with four seconds left. So anything can happen. Yeah, I think it was a little early but I don’t think it affected the decision. I know he was upset about it. No one wants to get the opportunity taken away from them. He was also upset about the “low blow” in the second round, I think that gave Usman a break, that didn’t really look low on the replay but sh*t like that happens in a fight.”

Over the past few years, Covington has gone out of his way to become the UFC’s greatest villain by invoking all sorts of inflammatory trash talk that he has unleashed on fighters, fans and even his promoter.

While there’s little chance he will curry favor with fans long term based solely what happened this past Saturday night, Lambert believes love him or hate him, you have to give Covington credit for a gutsy performance.

“You can hate the guy, you can want to see him get merked but after putting on a performance like that and going to war the way he went to war and knowing he broke his jaw early in the fight, how can you not have respect for that?” Lambert said.

As far as the future goes, Covington still has to recover from the broken jaw before he can even think about booking his next fight but Lambert says there’s no doubt that he wants to return sooner rather than later.

In fact, Covington has apparently shown no signs of slowing down in the wake of his loss but rather he’s more motivated than ever to get back into the gym as soon as he’s medically cleared.

“He is a 10 out of 10 as far as what I would hope his mindset would be after a fight like that,” Lambert said. “He wants to get right back in. He wants to get right back into training. He wants to get back into training as soon as he’s ready health wise. He wants to get back and prove that he’s the best.

“You never know how a fighter’s going to respond to something like that. When I first talked to him, I had my concerns cause you just never know. I could not have scripted his response any better than what I heard from him. He’s 1,000 percent positive, 1,000 percent motivated. He’s ready to go. He didn’t lose one piece of confidence in himself.”