Covington, a former teammate of Poirier and Masvidal at American Top Team, repeatedly teased that he had damning footage of the UFC lightweight and released it on Tuesday, prompting a quick response from Masvidal.
According to Ariel Helwani, Masvidal is targeting a showdown with Covington or Nick Diaz for his next fight after suffering his first UFC knockout loss in a title rematch against champ Kamaru Usman at UFC 261. Masvidal and Covington used to be friends and roommates at ATT before a public falling out that led to a ban on trash-talking and Covington’s exit from the famed gym.
Covington said the footage was from Poirier’s training camp to face now-former lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242. In the video, Poirier appears to land a hard punch on his training partner and then steps away, yelling, “And new!”
The guy wearing full nerf gear head to toe to protect his face and his feelings is Poirier. The guy with no headgear, wrestling credentials or brain cells left is “khabib.” @DustinPoirier Good guy? Bad guy? You be the judge ⚖️ #AndNew #UFC264 pic.twitter.com/EMMFwC2b4E— Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) July 6, 2021
“Dustin is a complete joke,” Covington said recently on What the Heck. “I have video footage to show what type of person Dustin truly is. Everybody hypes him up to be some charitable guy, some nice guy on camera. Some nice guy off-side camera. Oh, he’s a family man. He has a kid. Yeah, his kid and his wife are props. He’s a fake piece of sh*t. The guy is a dirtbag.
“I have a video of him knocking out an amateur in the gym, and he’s celebrating, dancing around, yelling in the guy’s face. Dustin, who are you trying to impress? Dude, it’s a closed practice. You’re knocking out a guy that came to help you, and it’s an amateur. You knocked this kid out, gave him a concussion, left him senseless, his head’s shaking, you’re yelling in his face. What does that mean? Dude, you’re not a UFC world champion. You’re training for Khabib – this isn’t Khabib. ... You’re in a closed practice. Beating a guy that’s a humble amateur that came to help you out for your training camp, and you’re going to concuss this guy? And you’re screaming in his face, ‘And new,’ and ‘Woo?’ Dude, this guy is not what everybody says he is.”
After the release of the footage, Titan FC vet Felipe Douglas told MMA Fighting he is the fighter in the video clip and indicated Poirier did nothing wrong.
“It was an intense sparring session, and things like that can happen in sparring,” he said. “There are some people saying I wasn’t wearing gear, but there was no reason to wear training gear, because Dustin trains well, he’s not mean. He hits hard like a fight and caught me and knocked me down. The cornerman took me off the cage and didn’t let me go back.
“As far as his celebration, people saying he was making fun – that’s the mindset of a guy that is fighting for a belt. I didn’t consider it disrespectful. I don’t do it, but that’s his mindset, envisioning the fight. He was about to fight for the belt, that’s his life.”
Poirier later responded to the video on Twitter with a reminder that he wasn’t squaring off with some amateur training partner as Covington initially suggested.
“This is a pro fighter with 20 wins,” Poirier wrote in reference to Douglas.
This is a pro fighter with 20 wins https://t.co/0rEGN3bf53— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) July 6, 2021
Covington has been named the No. 1 contender for the UFC welterweight title by UFC President Dana White. He was stopped by Usman in the fifth round of their first meeting at UFC 245. The ex-interim champ repeatedly has claimed he was still in the fight and accused referee Marc Goddard of favoring Usman.
Covington returned to the octagon this past September and picked up a key win over ex-champ and rival Tyron Woodley. White has yet to give a timeline for the Usman vs. Covington 2 bout. Masvidal has welcomed the idea of a showdown with Covington, but only on his terms.