O2 ARENA, LONDON – Colby Covington said he would fight Conor McGregor, eviscerated UFC 286 headliners Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman, compared his potential involvement to the Revolutionary War, alleged the 2021 US elections were rigged against close friend Donald Trump, and insulted British women in his role as backup fighter for the event.
In a wide-ranging broadside, Covington claimed audiences were not interested in the card at a sold-out O2 Arena in London and said he hoped Usman, who he lost to in 2019 and 2021, or opponent Edwards fell and injured themselves on the way to the octagon, allowing him to step in by receiving a tap on the shoulder from UFC president Dana White.
“I’m ready to be tagged in tonight,” he said. “If Dana White comes and taps on my shoulder, I’m stepping in that cage tonight and I will bring that belt back to America, where it belongs.
“It’ll be just like the war of 1776 when we beat the English. These idiots in the main event – they have no charisma, no-one cares about them, no-one wants to see them fight. Their numbers are abysmal. I’m glad to boost the ratings and bring some electricity to this O2 Arena.”
Covington vs McGregor: ‘Biggest event UFC would ever do’
Covington emphasised that he was grateful to the UFC and wanted to make the promotion as much money as possible, which could involve fighting former two-weight champion McGregor.
“Whenever we can come up with the biggest fight that makes the most money, I’ll come out to play,” he said, discussing McGregor, who has not fought since breaking his leg in his second successive defeat to Dustin Poirier in 2021.
“Conor’s done some great things in this sport. He’s a great fighter but his time is passing. He’s made a lot of money so he just doesn’t have that same hunger.
“Who knows if he’s coming back anytime soon? He still has to get the USADA pool. If Conor wants to fight one day, it’s probably the biggest event the UFC would ever do, as you see with the numbers I’ve drawn to this event. If they want to sit down and they think that’s the biggest and best fight they can do, let’s do it.”
Usman vs Edwards 3: Covington ‘with Donald Trump’ before call
UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell called Covington three weeks before UFC 286 and told him to “stay ready in case anything happens”, he said.
The confirmation call came at “about 10 p.m.” four days before fight night. “I was with Donald Trump last week – we were at [Trump advisor] Kimberly Guilfoyle’s birthday at Donald Trump’s house,” he added.
“We were at a party just eating and I wasn’t really thinking that I was going to be the backup fighter so I thought I’d splurge a little bit, eat, having this buffet food and catering and not worry about it.”
Covington flew on Wednesday and lost 18lb to make weight on Thursday for the welterweight bout. “Did you hear me cry, did you hear me make excuses?” he asked. “Who else can say they do that? I’ve proved to the UFC my worth and my value.”
Colby Covington weighed in as the backup fighter this AM. Everyone kept this one very much under wraps. Old school surprise. Fun stuff. Would seem to suggest he’s next, as well. pic.twitter.com/1culfiRdDg
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 17, 2023
The 35-year-old has repeatedly received support from Trump around his fights. “The most important title of all is Donald Trump’s favourite fighter,” he continued.
“The 45th president of the United States and soon to be the 47th. He would have been the 46th if they hadn’t rigged the elections.
“He’s the greatest president in American history and he’s going to come back and make America great again.”
Asked about investigations by authorities into Trump’s dealings — the former leader said in recent days that he expected to be arrested — Covington called it “more fake news, more political sham.”
“They raided his home for no reason,” he ranted. “All they constantly do is make up fake news about him.
“They don’t have anything on him. They’re afraid of him. They know he’s coming back and he’s going to be the president in 2024 and they’re trying to stick something to him.”
Donald Trump 🤝 Colby Covington pic.twitter.com/hGOxHFWCVA
— Fight Digitale (@fightdigitale) March 11, 2023
Covington chastises UFC headliners Edwards and Usman
“In England, you guys like to quote Shakespeare,” Covington said when it was put to him that Edwards and Usman did not know he would be backup.
“In America, we like to quote the great poet [rapper] Lil Wayne. And just like he said, real Gs [gangsters] move in silence, like lasagna.
“These other two idiots, they walk down the street and not one in 10 people are going to recognise them. There’s a reason for that. They can’t draw fights, they’re s***.
“They can’t draw money with a green pen and a white piece of paper. The fans don’t care, they want me to step in. I hope one of them trips on a cord walking to the cage so I can step in and fight and make the division great again.
“No-one was talking about this event. I’d rather fight both of them in the main event at the same time, that’s how serious I am. I’ve got my mouthguard and my cup in the back.”
MORE: Follow UFC 286 live!
Covington: Khamzat Chimaev ‘sucks’, Nate Diaz ‘soy boy’
Covington scathingly referred to feared newcomer Khamzat Chimaev as a “dogface motherf*****” and appeared to reference his absence through Covid when he accused him of “quitting to the common cold”.
“He talks all this s***, he talks about me in the media,” he raged. “They gave him a fight against ‘soy boy’ Nate Diaz and he couldn’t make weight by nine pounds. The guy sucks at fighting. He’s unprofessional. The guy couldn’t hold my f****** jockstrap.”
A fight with Chimaev was “never formally presented”, said Covington. “We talked about it. I wanted to derail that hype train. I saw the quitter in him from the start. He has no cardio.”
The UK received little more admiration from Covington. “The food sucks,” he suggested. “The weather sucks. The girls definitely suck but I do come from Miami — I’m the king of Miami — so it doesn’t compare. It hasn’t been an enjoyable trip.
“I came here on a day’s notice to fight for a world title against either one of these schmucks that are fighting tonight. I was ready to fight yesterday, I’ll be ready to fight tomorrow.”