Anthony Smith isn’t sure why former welterweight champion Colby Covington suddenly started mentioning his name but he’s more than happy to shut him up.
Truth be told, the light heavyweight contender who faces Jon Jones in the main event on Saturday night never really had a problem with Covington until recently.
While more than a few fighters have taken exception to Covington’s over the top antics while touting himself as the biggest Donald Trump fan in history, Smith actually understands what he’s doing with his gimmick.
“Here’s the thing with Colby — I don’t think that Colby a bad dude. I don’t,” Smith said ahead of his fight on Saturday night. “I think that he’s playing a gimmick and he’s doing what has to do to put himself in the position that he wants to be in. Colby Covington is a great fighter, he is, he was the interim champion. I would never say that Colby Covington isn’t skilled but he’s not necessarily the most exciting.
“So what do you have to do to combat that to get yourself to the title? How many fights did Jon Fitch win fighting just like Colby? How many fights did it take him to get to the title and how important was he after he lost? I think that what Colby is doing is smart but I think that he could do it better.”
Unfortunately, Covington doesn’t know when to stop so it’s made his public enemy No. 1 amongst the majority of fighters on the UFC roster.
“It drives me crazy that he attacks people who aren’t in his way,” Smith said. “Like why are you talking s—t about me? What happens is you talk so much s—t about people that have nothing to do with your fight career that he goes places and he’s like a skittish cat because he doesn’t know who all he’s pissed off.
“So when we were in Chicago [for UFC 225] that’s exactly how it was. He shows up at the gym, he doesn’t train at the host hotel like everyone does because he can’t because he’s gone so hard at everyone else around him. He’s uncomfortable everywhere he goes cause he’s pissed off everyone.”
Smith had referenced an encounter with Covington from that fight week where they were both competing on the same card after the outspoken former interim champion started talking about him in interviews and over social media.
Smith claims that there was no real altercation but more so that Covington couldn’t interact with anybody involved on the card because he probably irritated all of them before arriving in Chicago.
“He goes to my manager’s gym in Chicago where I’m at and you can just tell. He’s off hiding in the corner cause he doesn’t know who hates him and who doesn’t and then him and [Kamaru] Usman run into each other and he doesn’t want anything to do with it,” Smith revealed. “Then on Twitter, he’s the biggest tough guy in the room.
“That’s my issue. I never had an issue with him until he came at me. I’m just not that guy. I don’t talk about people that aren’t in my way and there’s just some things you don’t talk about.”
Smith says that he’ll gladly banter back and forth with somebody on social media but when it starts going too far, he’d rather settle things face-to-face and that’s exactly what he’ll do with Covington if they ever cross paths again.
“I understand what he’s doing. I just don’t understand talking about people who aren’t in your way,” Smith stated. “What does my title shot have to do with you not getting one? This stuff doesn’t hurt my feelings, it pisses me off.
“I’ve been in this game way too long to get bullied by Colby f—king Covington.”