Colby Covington might have a talent for working up a crowd, but even he could learn a thing or two from Jake Paul.
The popular YouTube star—and now aspiring professional boxer—was the most hated man in the building at UFC 261 this past weekend, and he wasn’t even part of the card. With Paul in the crowd, a large section of fans in attendance at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena began to chant “f*ck Jake Paul” with enough support and zeal that it nearly drowned out everything else on the broadcast. The chant arose several times during the show and Paul’s presence was recognized by both commentator Daniel Cormier and UFC President Dana White by night’s end.
Covington was also in Jacksonville, Fla., to see the show, and while he acknowledges that Paul is making a name for himself in the combat sports world, he’s not taking Paul seriously.
“Everything that’s going on with him is hilarious,” Covington said on What the Heck. “This guy’s an amateur. ‘Snake Paul’ is literally a bum. He’s a Disney, YouTube star. He’s not a real fighter, he’s an amateur, he’s a nobody. I’d literally smack the pubes off his face. What I make of him is he’s just looking to get hype and build himself up as a real fighter. He’s not a real fighter, this guy’s a nobody from the streets.
“That list fight with Ben Askren was a work. They made that a fix. Askren took a dive for the money and that’s that. I don’t really take much more from that circus of Triller. It’s literally a circus, it’s the clown show. No one’s got time on their Saturday night at midnight to listen to an hour-f*cking special by Justin Bieber in between fights. Come on, this is a joke.”
Paul defeated Askren by first-round knockout in the heavily hyped Triller Fight Club boxing main event on April 17. The win made Paul 3-0 and a victory over a former ONE and Bellator welterweight champion.
Several MMA fighters have stepped forward to challenge Paul and the 24-year-old has responded to a few, while also instigating some of his own callouts. One name that hasn’t come out of his mouth is Covington’s, which doesn’t surprise “Chaos.”
“He wouldn’t do that,” Covington said when asked why he thought Paul is yet to mention him as a potential opponent. “He’s not that stupid. He’s only looking for old, retired, washed-up fighters. He’s not looking for a guy in his prime who’s the top of the weight class who can actually throw hands. He’s looking for wrestlers, jiu-jitsu fighters, guys that supposedly did MMA, but they’re literally 40- or 50-year-old virgins. He’s not gonna call out someone that actually knows how to fight.”
Seated not far from Covington on fight night was another celebrity, though one with a far more reputable combat sports pedigree. Former Strikeforce champion and longtime UFC veteran Nick Diaz was in the crowd, leading to a new round of speculation as to when the fan favorite might compete again.
Covington doesn’t know what Diaz’s plans are, but in his eyes, Diaz is about as relevant a contender as Paul is at this point.
“[Diaz] was a couple of seats down from me, front row,” Covington said. “But he knows better than that than to pipe up to me. He’s the ‘Stockton Soy Boy,’ he’s not gonna mess with ‘MAGA Bombs.’ Someone was asking me, ‘You think Nate’s gonna fight again?’ I’m like, I don’t know, he might. If he does it’s just gonna be a cash grab. It’s not gonna be anything like he’s a legit threat to anyone.
“Honestly, you saw Tom Brady in the building. You saw Cuba Gooding Jr. in the building. You saw all these other A-list celebrities in the building and it’s like, are they getting in the octagon? Probably not, so I believe Nick Diaz getting in the octagon is as likely as Tom Brady getting in the octagon.”