UFC welterweight prospect Colby Covington sports a 10-1 record as he is set to head to his birthplace of Sacramento, California to take on Bryan Barberena at UFC on FOX 22 on December 17, 2016. Before marching into battle, Covington spoke with Bloody Elbow’s Eddie Mercado about returning home to SacTown, his thoughts on his upcoming opponent Bryan Barberena, and opens up about his main sparring partner, Robbie Lawler.
UFC 202 TKO of Max Griffin:
“Nothing really surprised me. I knew the type of fighter he was going in. I feel like I’m a very dominant fighter. I’ve never lost a round in my career, besides the 1 round to Warlley, where he caught me in a fluke submission. So besides that, that’s what I do. I dominate and I break guys’ wills. When they come to fight me, they know they’re going to be in for a fight, and it’s going to be a test of wills.”
Learning from a win?
“There were definitely a lot of things I learned. I feel like I could have probably finished him [Max Griffin] a little bit sooner. Some of the positions that I was in, that I could have got to, I could have made it a little more violent and been a little bit more dominant… It’s all about just managing those nerves and just really being in the moment…
… I should have been able to finish him at the end of the first round or in the beginning of the second. I shouldn’t have dragged it into the third. I definitely should have had him out of there sooner… It’s a lesson learned.”
Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson draw:
“I thought Woodley took that but you know judges when you leave it in the judge’s hands. I mean credit to Stephen Thompson, he weathered the storm. I mean what a tough dude, man, to be able to get dropped like that and come back. That was crazy. That was a great fight. I thought Woodley had it, but that’s what happens when it goes to the judges… I definitely think they should do it again. It was a great fight. The fans loved it, everybody loved it. Everybody wants to see that again.”
The specialness of UFC Sactown:
“I was actually born in Sacramento, in Rocklin, which is a suburb of Sacramento. I lived there for the first 8 years of my life. That’s special to me. It’s like I have a piece of my heart there. There’s a lot of history there. My sister was a Sacramento Kings cheerleader for like 7 years. I got a lot of history over in Sacramento. The guys at Team Alpha Male, they’re my friends. I have a lot of respect for those guys.
My home-home is Oregon, and this gives all my people, my fans at home and all my friends I went to high school with, the opportunity to come watch me fight. I’ve been fighting in China, Brazil, Vegas I guess they could come, but Sacramento is only like a 6-hour drive, you know. So, I’m going to have a couple hundred people driving down to watch that. I’m proud. I’m really excited about this, to represent for the west coast.”
Revenge by way of Bryan Barberena:
“He’s a resilient fighter. I got respect for the guy. He’s earned the respect; he’s a tough guy, but it’s nothing that I have never seen. I see guys like him in the gym everyday. For me, it’s just exciting because it’s a revenge fight. People are going to see the true me. They’re going to see the reasoning behind my loss to Warlley [Alves]. He decisively beat Warlley; it wasn’t really competitive. He won that fight pretty decisively, so this is my fight to show my revenge and show that was a fluke against Warlley.”
“To be honest, I think I’m better than him everywhere. He’s a good fighter in a lot of areas but he’s not really great anywhere. I feel like I’m a great wrestler. I feel like my striking has evolved a lot. I’m a great striker now. I’ve been sparring with Robbie Lawler. That’s been my main partner this camp. What’s Bryan Barberena going to bring to the table that Robbie Lawler doesn’t?”
Sparring with Robbie Lawler:
“Ah man, it’s so awesome. Sometimes it doesn’t feel real. When I’m going through, like everybody in the gym will come and watch. Everybody wants to see because it’s Robbie Lawler, you know. It’s just so humbling. I’m so grateful to have a training partner like that. You know, he doesn’t have a fight coming up. He doesn’t need to come in and help me, but the fact that he wants to come in and help me; I have so much respect for that guy.”
“100% I know I’m going to finish him. I don’t see him making it 3 rounds, you know. I think I’m going to knock him out in the second round.”
American Top Team:
“I have a really close and tight knit circle. Jorge Masvidal is my best friend. I got Robbie Lawler and I got a lot great 70 pounders around me to help… I don’t open up myself to too many of the guys at ATT, but I keep my tight circle and my circle works really well for me. I’m thankful for ATT, what they’ve done for me. Dan Lambert, the owner of ATT, I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. He gave me a place to live. He gave me food, money to get on this journey. He’s just done so much and he’s an integral part of ATT. I’m so thankful for American Top Team.
Befriending Jorge Masvidal:
“Right after college in 2011, after I got done and graduated Oregon State, I came out to ATT on a one-week training camp. The first day, I trained with Jorge Masvidal in wrestling, and we just clicked right away. He’s like, ‘ah man, I want to show you striking. I’m going to show you this, this, this.’ I just helped him in wrestling and we just built this bond and mesh. It’s been a great relationship, he helps me out with a lot of things striking and I help him out with a lot of things grappling and wrestling. We kind of take pieces from each other’s games, and we mold each other so we can be the most rounded fighters in the division.”
UFC Rankings after a win:
“I feel like it places me in the top 15. Kelvin Gastelum, he’s got the weight issues so he’s out so they got to put a new guy in. That should be me. I’m ready for my time. This is my time. I put in a lot of hard work in the standup, in the grappling, and the submissions. I’m a finisher, you know. Look at all my fights. I finished 90% of my fights so I’m ready to make my run to that title and I’m ready for that title. So, they need to put me in the rankings and start giving me some highly ranked guys…”
Respect for the welterweight champion:
“I still think that’s a favorable matchup. I can take him to deep waters. I like Tyron Woodley; he’s a cool guy. I can’t bad talk him right now. He’s the champ. He’s earned his right to be the champ. I’m not going to be that kid down the line that’s running his mouth, I’m going to go out there and prove it. No disrespect to Tyron Woodley, he’s a cool guy, but I’m coming for that belt.”
Check out the 10-1 welterweight Colby Covington take on Bryan Barberena at UFC on FOX 22 in Sacramento, California on December 17, 2016. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!