Colby Covington (Colby Ray Covington) (born February 22, 1988) is an American professional mixed martial artist who currently competes in the welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is a former Interim UFC Welterweight Champion. As of June of 2021, he is #1 in the UFC welterweight rankings.
Colby Covington: Background
Covington was born in Clovis, California on February 22, 1988. His parents are Noelle and Brad Covington, and he has two sisters named Candace and Callie. The family moved from California to Oregon when he was eight years old. His father was a wrestler during his time at the Oregon Institute of Technology and Southern Oregon University.
As a wrestler at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, Covington lettered all four years and won the 171 lb state championship as a senior. He committed to Arizona State University but his test scores were not up to par, so he went to Iowa Central Community College, where he won the 165 lb national junior college wrestling title as a true freshman with a 34–0 record. His roommate at the time was future UFC champion Jon Jones.
Following his championship season at Iowa Central, Covington transferred to the wrestling program at the University of Iowa. On August 10, 2007, he was arrested for eluding police and driving under the influence, having registered a BAC of 0.255, over three times the legal limit of 0.08. He later said, “That was a real all-time low in my life, something I really wish I could take back.” Due to his arrest, Covington was suspended from the Hawkeyes for a year and saw limited time the next season. He looked for a fresh start, and former Hawkeyes coach Jim Zalesky convinced Covington to transfer to Oregon State University.
During his time at OSU, Covington qualified for the NCAA tournament as a junior and as a senior, placing fifth as a senior and earning All-American honors. He also was a two-time Pac-10 Conference champion at 174-pounds. He was cited for fourth-degree assault stemming from an incident on May 23, 2010, in which he was accused of punching two men after a verbal altercation. The Benton County District Attorney’s Office did not pursue charges against Covington over the incident.
Covington graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2011.
He compiled a record of 5–0 before signing with the UFC in the summer of 2014.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (2014–present)
Covington made his promotional debut against Anying Wang on August 23, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 48. He won the fight by TKO via punches in the closing seconds of the first round.
Covington fought Wagner Silva on November 8, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 56. He won the fight via submission in the third round.
Covington next faced Mike Pyle on May 23, 2015 at UFC 187, replacing an injured Sean Spencer. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
Covington faced Warlley Alves on December 12, 2015 at UFC 194. He lost the fight via submission in the first round.
Covington was expected to compete against Alex Garcia on June 18, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 89. However, Garcia was pulled from the fight on June 10 for undisclosed reasons and replaced by promotional newcomer Jonathan Meunier. Covington won the fight via submission in the third round.
Covington next faced promotional newcomer Max Griffin on August 20, 2016 at UFC 202. He won the fight via TKO in the third round.
Covington’s next bout was against Bryan Barberena on December 17, 2016 at UFC on Fox 22. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
Covington faced Dong Hyun Kim on June 17, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 111. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
As the final fight of his prevailing contract, Covington fought Demian Maia on October 28, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 119. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
Covington fought Rafael dos Anjos on June 9, 2018 at UFC 225 for the Interim UFC Welterweight Championship. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
Covington was briefly linked to a title unification bout with the then champion Tyron Woodley on September 8, 2018, at UFC 228. However, Covington was unable to compete on that date due to recent nasal surgery. As a result, UFC officials turned their attention to arranging a bout between Woodley and Darren Till to fill the headlining spot. In turn, promotional officials indicated on July 24 that Covington would be stripped of the Interim UFC Welterweight Championship, once the bout between Woodley and Till took place.
Covington returned to face Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC on ESPN 5 on August 3, 2019. He won the fight via a lopsided unanimous decision, setting a record for the most strikes thrown in a UFC bout, with 541 strikes.
Covington faced Kamaru Usman for the UFC Welterweight Championship on December 14, 2019 at UFC 245. Covington sustained a left mandibular fracture as a result of a strike by Usman in the third round and was knocked down twice in the fifth round. The second knockdown was followed by a barrage of strikes by Usman with Covington covering up on the ground and subsequent stoppage by referee Marc Goddard resulting in technical knockout win for Usman. The report from Nevada Athletic Commission stated Convington suffered from a fractured jaw at the fight This fight earned him his first post-fight bonus in the UFC for Fight of the Night. Going into the final round, one judge had Covington winning 39–37, another had it tied at 38–38, and the other had it 39–37 in favor of Usman.
After a long-lasting, public feud and trash talking between Covington and other American Top Team members – most notably Dustin Poirier, Jorge Masvidal and Joanna Jędrzejczyk – Covington eventually parted ways with his first mixed martial arts gym in May 2020.
Covington headlined UFC on ESPN+ 36 against his long-time rival Tyron Woodley on September 19, 2020 After dominating his opponent for four rounds, the bout was called as a technical knockout when Woodley suffered a rib injury.
Covington rematched Kamaru Usman for the UFC Welterweight Championship on November 6, 2021 at UFC 268. Despite a close bout, Covington lost via unanimous decision.
Covington is scheduled to face Jorge Masvidal on March 5, 2022, at UFC 272.
Professional wrestling career
Impact Wrestling (2017)
Covington, along with other American Top Team members, made multiple appearances in Impact Wrestling, where they aligned themselves with Lashley and King Mo. In 2017, they defeated the team of Moose and Stephan Bonnar at Bound for Glory. In the buildup to the event, he hired Stevie Richards to be his strength and conditioning coach.
In February 2018, Covington appeared at a WrestlePro event and defeated TyQuill Woodley, a parody character of Tyron Woodley, in a match.
Covington is an outspoken supporter of the Republican Party and former President Donald Trump. After winning the Interim UFC Welterweight Championship, he stated he wanted to visit Trump at the White House to present him with the title, which he did on August 2, 2018. Trump phoned to congratulate Covington during his post-fight interview following his win over Tyron Woodley. Covington dedicated his win over Woodley to first responders and the military and criticized Black Lives Matter and LeBron James. Woodley had spoken about his support for the Black Lives Matter movement leading up to the fight.
He has described himself as the “super villain” of the UFC and will often try to upset people with brazen trash talking. Following his 2017 bout with Demian Maia at São Paulo, Brazil, he called the country a “dump” and referred to the Brazilian crowd as “filthy animals” in the post-fight interview. In an interview with Candace Owens, Covington said that his “act” was a response to the UFC threatening to cut him before the Maia fight and stated the “Filthy Animals” speech “saved his career.” Covington further embraced his villain status before his 2019 main event encounter with Robbie Lawler at UFC on ESPN 5. He used the WWE entrance theme of professional wrestler Kurt Angle—which is regularly punctuated with crowd chants of “You suck!”—as his entrance music; Angle had given Covington permission to use the theme. With two of Trump’s sons, Donald Jr. and Eric cageside for the fight, the crowd performed the “You suck!” chants during Covington’s entrance.
After his win over Lawler, Covington stated; “Let’s talk about the lesson we learned tonight that Robbie should have learned from his good buddy Matt Hughes. You stay off the tracks when the train is coming through, junior, doesn’t matter if it’s the Trump train or the Colby train, get out the way!” during his post-fight interview. This was in reference to a near-fatal accident Hughes suffered in 2017, where he was permanently damaged when his truck was struck by a train at a rail crossing. Despite being criticized by the media, Covington refused to apologize, explaining that “the guy’s done some pretty crappy stuff, he’s got lawsuits against his family, against his brother, I just said the truth, I’m honest. I’m a little bit brutally honest sometimes and people can’t handle it.”
Covington continued his trash-talking in the lead up to the Kamaru Usman fight at UFC 245. During a press conference, he said that Usman gave Glenn Robinson, Usman’s long-time coach who died in 2018, “a heart attack from all those years you were ducking me,” and that Robinson would be “watching from hell on Dec. 14.”
In March 2021, Covington created controversy when he used crude language to claim that he had a sexual relationship with fellow UFC fighter Polyana Viana and that this was part of the reason why he turned down a fight with Leon Edwards at UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs. Muhammad. Viana herself had earlier claimed that she and Colby were “just friends” and that she already had a boyfriend when addressing rumors that the two of them were in a relationship. After Covington’s comments, Viana gave the following statement through her social media: “I have never given room for any kind of comment or judgment about my personal life, but it is not for me to judge the person’s attitude. I feel sorry for those who act so low to try to promote themselves. It is revolting.”
Championships and accomplishments
- FILA 77 kg No-Gi Grappling World Championship (2013)
- National Collegiate Athletic Association
- NCAA Division I All-American out of Oregon State University (2011)
- Pac-10 174 lb Conference Championship out of Oregon State University (2010, 2011)
- National Junior College Athletic Association
- NJCAA 165 lb National Championship out of Iowa Central Community College (2007)
- NJCAA All-American out of Iowa Central Community College (2007)
- Oregon State Activities Association
- OSAA 171 lb State Championship out of Thurston High School (2006)
Mixed martial arts
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- Interim UFC Welterweight Championship (One time)
- Fight of the Night (One time) vs. Kamaru Usman’
Mixed martial arts record
|19 matches||16 wins||3 losses|
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