Colby Covington swiftly forgot the respect that saw the fight ref joke he was about to kiss Kamaru Usman after their UFC 268 bout, resuming his villainous persona as the badly beaten brawler brazenly accused the champ of cheating.
In a thrilling headline clash, the American lost again to the welterweight champion by unanimous decision at UFC 268 in Madison Square Garden.
Despite being floored in the second, Covington survived the full five rounds – an improvement on the fighters’ first meeting in 2019, when he was knocked out and had his jaw broken.
After another acrimonious build-up to their battle, Covington appeared to have earned the respect of ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’, with the two sharing close words following the final buzzer.
This caused referee Dan Miragliotta to order the two warriors to “go kiss later” as they were sent back to their corners in preparation for the result.
And after Bruce Buffer read out scores of 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47 in his favor, Usman again paid his dues.
“There was a lot of trash talk, a lot of bad blood here,” conceded the pound-for-pound candidate.
“I’m sure there’s still going to be some after tonight, but this guy is a tough son of a b*tch – he’s tough as sh*t.
“When you share an octagon with someone who’s stuff, you can’t help it. That respect is going to come. His technique is down, the power came up a little bit. I could tell they’d been working on it, so I had to give him respect.
“I am the pound-for-pound best alive right now. He’s tough. The best take our time, stay calculated and find our finish. He’s a tough son of a gun and wasn’t going to let me find that finish.”
In his own Q and A with Joe Rogan, Covington canned the trash talk and was also gracious in defeat.
“I had my moments,” he claimed. “I wobbled him a couple of times at the end of the round. I wasn’t able to capitalize.
“It was his night. He had a better night. Love me or hate me, I’m just getting started. You haven’t seen the best of Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington yet,” he vowed.
Congrats on defending the people’s champ belt @ColbyCovMMA?they can’t keep an Oregon gangster down ????
— Uncle Fuckles (@Uncle_Fuckles) November 7, 2021
There was no obvious cheating in the bout, although an eye poke on Covington briefly halted the action with 40 seconds to go.
‘Chaos’ canned his unusual nice guy act at his post-fight press conference, reverting to type by playing his usual villainous character and launching some outlandish accusations at Usman.
Asked what he thought of being called Joe Frazier to Usman’s Muhammad Ali – a reference to one of boxing’s all-time great rivalries, in which the first two chapters of its trilogy were fought at the garden, Covington claimed: “It’s definitely not a compliment.”
“He’s a cheating coward – I have no respect for that guy. He’s obviously a cheater; he’s cheated in multiple fights.
“He was holding my glove tonight against the cage. In the first round, I shot a takedown and he went bam, bam twice in the back of the head.
“Dan Miragliotta is one of the top three best refs in the game but I told him before the fight, ‘do not let this guy hit me in the back of the head’ and he did, right away. If you go back and look at the footage, he clearly hit me in the back of the head.
“When you hit someone in the back of the head, it definitely dazes you real quick. That caught me off guard. You’ll never see me cheating or trying to cheat. It’s that unfair shake again. I got the job done but I promise you haven’t seen the last of me,” he promised.
Having left the medical area on crutches with a suspected broken right foot, Covington was once again mocked on social media for his lack of sportsmanship and dubbed a “crybaby”.
Colby is so good at playing the heel that you can’t tell if it’s fake or he’s legitimately that salty.
— ezgeeSCO (@ezgeeSCO) November 7, 2021
All he does is cry after every loss…..take it on the chin you might just might get a little bit of respect from people
— ??? John_G_ ??? (@John_G_26) November 7, 2021
“MAGA down bad,” remarked one Twitter onlooker – a nod to the fighter’s public support of former US president Donald Trump.
“Covington knows it within himself that Usman is the better fighter – he just doesn’t want to admit it to himself,” claimed another critic.
“Beat twice, man. Sorry, but you’re not the guy,” another told the loser, while one viewer observed: “All he does is cry after every loss. Take it on the chin; you might just might get a little bit of respect from people.”
Dude, he gave Usman his dues after the fight when he said “”you know im just trying to sell the fight, for you too, so get that money bro, its all love” he’s simply sticking to his persona, and character for his brand. And, after that fight. How can you not respect him?
— Dalton? (@oldtownmma) November 7, 2021
Colby always thinks someone cheats or does something else to win against him. Usman beat you…again!! Admit defeat and quit making excuses! #colbycrybaby
— Sandy Ferrell (@cytara01) November 7, 2021
Others rushed to Covington’s defense. “Dude, he gave Usman his dues after the fight when he said ‘You know I’m just trying to sell the fight for you too, so get that money bro – it’s all love,” pointed out a fan.
“He’s simply sticking to his persona and character for his brand. And after that fight, how can you not respect him?”
Others cut him more slack as well. “Colby is so good at playing the heel that you can’t tell if it’s fake or he’s legitimately that salty,” said one.
Another told him: “Congrats on defending the people’s champ belt. They can’t keep an Oregon gangster down.”
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‘Go kiss later’: UFC ref jokes with Usman & Covington as bitter rivals embrace during UFC 268 win for ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ (VIDEO)