Following the news that we are on the brink of an historic ‘trade’ deal which would see UFC flyweight great Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson and ONE Championship’s undefeated welterweight king “Funky” Ben Askren switch promotions, Askren has wasted no time at all in calling out half of the UFC’s top 10 welterweights.
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has confirmed he has suffered a hand injury that will require surgery, which will make him ineligible for the UFC 230 main event slot at Madison Square Garden, New York on the 3rd November. Continue reading “News: Tyron Woodley out 8 – 12 weeks and unable to fill vacant UFC 230 main event slot”
It feels like the only Conor-related news in the media lately, is Conor’s lack of media activity in the lead up to UFC 229. It has left many in the MMA world somewhat underwhelmed and speculative around the circumstances as to why McGregor has not been his usual brash and spotlighted self.
Conor McGregor has kept away from any media appearances (other than the occasional social media post) through the build-up of his upcoming title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 on October 6th in Las Vegas. Reports have come to light that the UFC is “frustrated” that one of their most reliable fight-hypers and prized possession is not hyping the already blockbuster fight enough.
One person thinking that he knows why there is a lull in McGregor’s media game is UFC welterweight Colby “Chaos” Covington. When speaking on an interview with BJPenn.com, Covington stated:
“I completely understand where he’s coming from. He’s over in Ireland, so to come from Ireland, to come do promotion in America, that’s a little tough. It takes out of your training schedule. You want to be training hard, and preparing for your style matchup. I get where he’s coming from. It gets a little tough when you’re cutting weight to travel all over the place when you want to focus on really getting yourself ready to peak for your fight.”
However, as expected, it was not all pleasantries and empathy from Covington.
“But the thing is, he’s gotten a little soft, over the years. He’s doing his little cocaine, and he’s partying a lot with his hookers. He’s getting a little soft. He’s a little, he’s a coked up little leprechaun who’s getting a little soft, so I completely understand why he doesn’t want to do promotion.”
The UFC did announce that there will be a pre-fight press conference for UFC 229, which will be held on September 20th at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. However, the said media event will be closed off to the public, and only UFC president Dana White along with selected members of the media will be present.
– Brad Dalrymple
Follow me on Twitter @Brad_MMA
Former UFC lightweight champion and welterweight contender, Rafael dos Anjos has made it perfectly clear for the UFC – his next fight must be in the USA. Continue reading “News: RDA states his third child is why he won’t fight Ponzinibbio in Argentina”
Considering the way confusion reigns in a number of UFC divisions these days, the welterweight title picture seemed to be a relatively straight forward one.
Reigning champion Tyron Woodley (18-3-1) has held the belt since defeating Robbie Lawler in dramatic fashion back at UFC 201 in November 2016. Since then he’s defended the belt three times, fighting to a majority draw with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC 205 before defeating Wonderboy in a somewhat less entertaining contest at UFC 209. Four months later at UFC 214, Woodley defended his title for a third time, earning a unanimous decision win over Demian Maia.
On paper, UFC 225 appeared to be the strongest card of the year so far. In reality, it delivered some incredibly entertaining fights and went a long way towards successfully living up to that billing. Yes, there were some controversial decisions from the judges and yes, there was a fight on the main card which belonged on the fight pass prelims at best.
Despite that, there were plenty of positive talking points and a number of memorable performances throughout the card (shout out Curtis Blaydes and Charles Oliveira). The main card alone delivered a fight of the year candidate, the crowning of a new champion, an undefeated young heavyweight extending his perfect record and a demonstration of experience and fight IQ from a multiple division title contender.
Lets take a look at what should come next for each of UFC 225’s main card winners.
Nobody could ever accuse Colby Covington of being shy when it comes to giving his opinions, particularly when it comes to his fellow welterweights.
During my recent interview with Colby, I asked him to go through the welterweight top 15 and give me a short review of each fighter. As you might expect, he was only too willing to oblige.
Check out Colby’s thoughts below.
Number 15 – Dong Hyun Kim
Number 14 – Alex Oliveira
Number 13 – Leon Edwards
Number 12 – Gunnar Nelson
Number 11 – Donald Cerrone
Number 10 – Santiago Ponzinibbio
Number 9 – Jorge Masvidal
Number 8 – Neil Magny
Number 7 – Demian Maia
Number 6 – Kamaru Usman
Number 5 – Robbie Lawler
Number 4 – Colby Covington
Number 3 – Stephen Thompson
Number 2 – Darren Till
Number 1 – Rafael Dos Anjos
The Champion – Tyron Woodley
There aren’t many athletes in the UFC that large numbers of fans actively dislike. Those that do fall into that category are typically loud, confident and opinionated fighters who have a large, loyal, core group of fans who don’t care much if they upset or alienate the wider fan base.
Conor McGregor aside, no fighter has made quite such an effort to court controversy and anger fans in recent memory than Colby “Chaos” Covington. The 30-year-old is undefeated in his last five fights and now finds himself just days away from a shot at the interim UFC welterweight title, against former UFC lightweight title holder Rafael Dos Anjos.
In the last twelve months alone, Covington has angered the entire nation of Brazil, been hit with a boomerang by UFC heavyweight Fabricio Werdum, publicly revealed spoilers for both Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Avengers: Infinity War and insulted almost every other fighter in his division.
Covington spoke exclusively with MMAMotion to discuss his upcoming fight with Dos Anjos, his thoughts on Darren Till , what he gets out of trolling UFC fans and making the UFC great again.
Tom Mulligan – It’s been almost eight months since your somewhat notorious win over Demian Maia in Brazil at UFC Fight Night 119. How does it feel to finally get your shot at a belt after all this time?
Colby Covington – I Called it back then. It’s champagne and title fights on US soil after beating that filthy animal [Maia] in that dump.
TM – Now you find yourself facing another Brazilian in former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos. What kind of risk do you believe he poses to your chances of capturing the welterweight gold?
CC – About as much of a risk as someone hitting the lottery which ain’t good odds. I’m going to dunk my balls on RDA’s face just like Michael Jordan used to at the United Center in Chicago.
TM – Dos Anjos has of course been in this situation before having been the champion at 155lbs. How much of a factor do you think that experience will be when the cage door closes in Chicago?
CC – It won’t make a difference. I have lifelong experience competing in wrestling and winning national titles so I know how to win.
TM – Darren Till picked up a somewhat divisive decision win over Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson on Sunday night and many now see him as another top contender in the division. Can you tell me what you think about Till and how he would fare should you two meet in the cage?
CC – The Tillsbury Doughboy needs to lay off the cake, he wouldn’t last very long against me, I’m on another level. Neither [Till nor Wonderboy] are well rounded fighters. They’re both just one dimensional and will never wear gold.
TM – Assuming you win the interim title against Dos Anjos at UFC 225 in Chicago, reigning champion Tyron Woodley would almost certainly be your next fight. How do you see that match up going for you?
CC – When I win the interim title I’m sure Tyquil Woodley will retire and run to Hollywood to avoid fighting me.
TM – You’ve rather notoriously shared major spoilers for films on Twitter in the past. Can you explain the thinking behind that? Does it motivate you knowing that a huge portion of the fan base wants to see you beaten as a result?
CC – [It’s] because all my haters are nerds and virgins that love those movies. And I love the fact that people want to see me get knocked out, it fuels my fire within.
TM – So it’s fair to say the hate is a big motivator for you? Do you have a message you’d like to send to the UFC fans reading this?
CC – Your hate and tears fuel the machine that is making this division and UFC great again.
TM – Moving back to UFC 225 and Rafael Dos Anjos, can you give us a prediction of what’s going to happen?
CC – 2nd round KO. It’s gonna take me one round to beat the steroids out of him. Then in the second round, I finish Ralphie Dos Nachos.
UFC 225 takes place on Saturday June 9th at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois and will be headlined by Robert Whittaker putting his UFC middleweight title on the line against number one contender Yoel Romero. The co-main event, will see Covington and Rafael Dos Anjos compete for the interim UFC welterweight title.
The main event of UFC Liverpool promised a chess match of a striking contest between two of the most accomplished and dangerous talents in the hugely stacked welterweight division. It surely delivered on it’s tension filled five round promise (albeit short of clear cut offensive action.)
Ultimately, it was a lacklustre 25 minute clash, with an already under scrutiny Darren Till claiming a split decision win over Stephen Thompson following a botched weight cut on Saturday morning. Hometown hero Till, stepped onto the scales weighing a massive 174 pounds, until it was revealed his pregnant partner was in hospital suffering complications with her pregnancy. Adding to the growing list of weigh in headaches in 2018, Thompson and his team negotiated a deal that would see the main event go ahead, forcing Till to hand over 30% of his fight purse and upon midday of fight day, had to successfully weigh in no more than 188lbs.
So with new terms reached, the main event at the Echo Arena was back on.
An almost point fighting, hugely composed display from both men filled the 25 minute period, with ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson’s impeccable footwork and Karate blitz counter striking forcing the heavy handed Till to conserve his energy and carefully throw that clubbing left hand. A shot he landed expertly in the final round, dropping Thompson for a brief moment. A split decision was questionably awarded to Till, with Thompson doing enough to win 3 of the 5 rounds in my opinion.
So what’s next for Darren Till?
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Colby Covington loser: I certainly don’t believe Darren Till deserves a title tilt just yet, especially with his weight cut fiasco and the controversial nature surrounding his decision victory.
In just over two weeks time, a legitimate challenger for Tyron Woodley will be established in Chicago at UFC 225, as former lightweight trail blazer Rafael dos Anjos meets brash trash talker Colby Covington for the interim 170lbs championship. The perfect match up to test Till in my opinion, would see him challenge the loser of the RDA and Covington fight.
It had be said, “The Gorilla” is yet to be tasked with dealing with a supreme and superior wrestler, something dos Anjos and maybe more so, Amercian Top Team’s Colby Covington represents. I’m currently leaning towards dos Anjos to stop Colby, subsequently taking the interim crown.
So why not pit Till versus the loud mouth Oregan State All-American?..
Kamaru Usman: It remains to be seen if Till will leapfrog Stephen Thompson and claim the #1 spot at welterweight. This is particularly due to his failure to make the 170lbs limit, so if he moves a few considerable ranks, face him off against fellow up and coming talent Kamaru Usman.
With head honcho Dana White confirming that Till will in fact fight in Vegas in his next trip to the octagon, a PPV spot containing both future champions in my opinion, will further bolster their recognition in a heated welterweight division. Usman is a cerebral wrestler who crept past Demian Maia at UFC Chile recently, but his “safety first” approach replicates champion Tyron Woodley to a certain extent. This would afford Till another opportunity to be tested against a high level wrestler.
Robbie Lawler: If this dream matchup gets made and if Till emerged with the win, it almost represents a certain passing of a welterweight torch (even more so than RDA’s demolition of “Ruthless” Robbie). Dos Anjos mauled Lawler unquestionably, ensuring he is seen as a certified elite mixed-martial artist who has reinvigorated his career since his venture up a division.
Till is still a huge prospect but a stoppage win in particular over the blood and guts veteran that is Robbie Lawler represents arguably the biggest feather in his cap to date.
It feels somewhat poetic that Colby “Chaos” Covington will have to return to Brazil for the opportunity to earn the UFC belt that he covets so much.
Covington (13-1-0) will face Rafael Dos Anjos (28-9-0) for the interim welterweight championship at UFC 224 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, as confirmed by MMAFighting. The fight is expected to be made official by the UFC later this week.
30-year-old Covington’s last visit to Brazil was steeped in controversy after “Chaos” lived up to his name, referring to the Brazilian fans as “filthy animals” in his in octagon interview following a unanimous decision win over Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 119.
“Brazil, you’re a dump!” Covington said during his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier. “All you filthy animals suck. I’ve got one thing to say: Tyron Woodley, I’m coming for you. If you don’t answer the front door, I’m going to knock it in and I’m going to take what’s mine, that welterweight belt!”
Speaking to MMAFighting, Covington explained his feelings on fighting for the interim title.
“You can call it an interim, but everyone knows Woodley ain’t coming back when they put that belt around my waist,” Covington said, “and they are paying me like it’s a title fight.”
Since beating Maia in October 2017, Covington has campaigned relentlessly for a shot at reigning champion Woodley. Woodley however, has brushed off all of these attempts to bait him into agreeing to a fight. Incidentally, Woodley is still in recovery following shoulder surgery and isn’t expected to return to action until July.
When asked by MMA fighting if he had any concerns for his safety in Brazil following the controversy surrounding his last visit, Covington didn’t seem concerned.
“UFC has guaranteed my safety. Only security concern is gonna be when they lock RDA up and he has to stand across the cage from 170 pounds of raw American steel and sex appeal.
May 12, I put all the super villains that you nerds read about in your comic books to shame,” Covington added. “I’m taking over the world and RDA sure as hell can’t stop me.”
Former lightweight champion Dos Anjos holds a three fight win streak since moving up to welterweight with wins over Tarrec Saffiedine, Neil Magny and most recently earning a unanimous decision victory over Robbie Lawler in December 2017.
The 33-year-old Brazilian would have been the next in line for a shot at welterweight champion Tyron Woodley but instead, finds himself with one more obstacle to clear in his quest to become a two weight UFC champion.
UFC 224 takes place on May 12th and will be headlined by a womens bantamweight title fight between reigning champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Raquel Pennington. The card also features a battle between middleweight contenders Jacare Souza and Kelvin Gastelum, a strawweight contest between Mackenzie Dern and Amanda Cooper as well as a match up between Brazilian UFC legends Vitor Belfort and Shogun Rua.