Given his penchant for over-the-top quotes and his brash persona, it should surprise no one that Colby Covington envisions himself pursuing a career in pro wrestling someday.
The UFC welterweight contender has already dipped his toes in the sports entertainment waters, as he and several other American Top Team fighters joined their coach Dan Lambert to take part in an ongoing television angle with the Impact Wrestling promotion back in 2017. Now, Covington has his sights set on joining the biggest wrestling company in the business, the WWE.
Even with the coronavirus pandemic putting a halt to most entertainment and sporting organizations, the WWE has continued to tape no-audience shows at its Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., including its annual mega event Wrestlemania, which was filmed in advance over a course of three days and aired across two nights last weekend.
On the What the Heck show, Covington expressed his admiration for the WWE’s performers and he sees himself as a perfect fit for that world.
“Those guys are true sports athlete entertainers,” Covington said. “To put on a show like that for the world while everybody’s at home watching, you don’t have the same energy from the crowd and the same adrenaline that you get when you walk into a full arena, so to see those guys out there putting it all on the line, I respect those guys. Those guys are some of the hardest workers on earth. I hope to join them someday. I’ve got a lot of love and respect for Vince McMahon and what he’s done for the business model of the WWE.
“My thing is I want to go to WWE and make wrestling real again. I want people to get behind it and think that it’s real. You ain’t going off the top rope on me because I’ll take you out with a double leg, you ain’t gonna get up there. So I’m looking to go over to WWE and make wrestling real again in the near future. Until then I’m gonna be retiring all the old fogeys over here in the UFC.”
Covington fell short in his attempt to wrest the UFC welterweight title from Kamaru Usman when they fought in December, but prior to that “Chaos” put together a seven-fight win streak that included wins over former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, and two-time UFC title contender Demian Maia.
Almost as importantly for his profile, Covington developed a knack for generating provocative quotes, the kind of talk that would serve him well in the often cartoonish world of pro wrestling. While he focuses on his fighting career, he’s been absorbing sports entertainment wisdom from current and former WWE stars like his ATT teammate and crossover athlete Bobby Lashley.
“I’ve been talking to Bobby Lashley, my friend, he’s a teammate, and Kurt Angle obviously, I walk out to his music for my fights, I keep in good touch with those guys,” Covington said.
“And Ronda Rousey, the greatest women’s mixed martial artist of all time. It’s good to learn from her and see her and how she’s handling the transition from MMA to pro wrestling. I think I’m gonna have a good grasp of it. I grew up amateur wrestling and I know how to act, I know how to sell, and everybody knows I know how to entertain so I think it’s gonna be a smooth transition when I go to the WWE in 2021.”
Covington had a chance to pick Rousey’s brain at a recent taping of Monday Night RAW in Miami and he says he enjoyed the experience and atmosphere. If all goes according to plan for Covington, he sees himself becoming a “WWE Superstar” himself sometime in the middle of next year.
“I would say probably 2021,” Covington said. “Next summer, not this summer, but next summer. I’ve been practicing moves and really working on my promo and mic skills and just control and slowing things down and understanding the art of wrestling. I want to make sure when I go there I make the biggest splash possible because I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time and I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to make money. When I go over there I want to make Brink’s trucks loads of money.
“Everybody knows I do good business, I pull numbers, people want to see me, I’m entertaining, and people are divided on me. They hate me and they love me, but it’s all the same thing at the end of the day.”