Tony Reid – With all of the craziness surrounding the UFC welterweight title should we still be calling you the champion?
Colby Covington – “You can call me The People’s Champ, you can call me America’s Champ, any of the above work. I am the champion and the number one ranked welterweight in the world.”
TR – All the outside chatter aside, you went in there and thrashed Rafael Dos Anjos to capture the interim UFC welterweight championship. What was that moment like when you had the belt wrapped around your waist?
CC – “It was a moment of a lifetime of work. I have been training in a wrestling room since I was seven years old. I have always had aspirations to be a world champion. To finally be recognized as a world champion and to have that belt wrapped around my waist, it is a lifetime of hard work finally coming to fruition. I am very thankful and blessed for the opportunities I have been given and what I have been able to accomplish. I am never content. I still have unfinished business.”
TR – You kept your word and fulfilled your promise to put the UFC welterweight title on President Donald Trump’s desk in the Oval Office. What was that experience like for you?
CC – “That was the greatest day of my life. My agent Dan Lambert and I got on his private jet and we flew up to Washington D.C. and we got to hang out with Trump for about an hour in the Oval Office. It was an incredible experience. There is no higher honor as a US citizen than to be able to go to the White House and be able to hang out with the sitting president in the Oval Office. It was every dream I ever had coming true.”
TR – So I have to ask…what is it like to hang out with Donald Trump for a day?
CC – “Trump was really cool. He kept calling me ‘Champ’. As soon as I gave him the belt he tried to give it back to me. I told him ‘No, Mr. President this belt is for you. You are the champion of the American people. You are making this country great again.’ He was excited. To see the excitement in his eyes to keep that belt…that will live with me for the rest of my life. You can take away anything from me but you can’t take away those moments and those memories. I didn’t think he would tell me a negative story about himself but he told me he really respects me because he wrestled in high school but he said he was the type of wrestler that counted the lights on the ceiling. So, as a wrestler, that means you were getting pinned. I was surprised that he opened up to me about that but it was very cool.”
TR – What was the origin of the ongoing saga and beef between you and UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley?
CC – “Me and Tyron we have been at it a long time. We go back many years in the training room. We have never really liked each other because he wanted to be the alpha in the gym but that was never him. I was always beating the shit out of him in training and deep down inside he knows that. We have been going back and forth on Twitter for years now. It’s sad that we haven’t been able to make that fight happen. What’s even sadder is him telling lies to the media. He doesn’t want to fight me. If he wanted to fight me we would have fought. He was offered the fight multiple times. He was offered the fight after I beat Demian Maia. He had to get shoulder surgery. He was willing to fight Nate Diaz or GSP but couldn’t fight me? That doesn’t make any sense. After I won the interim title we could have fought. He turned me down every single date. To be honest, I don’t know if the fight will ever happen. I have nothing to prove to him. I beat his ass in the training room. I know I am a better fighter than he is. If I never fight him he will have to live the rest of his life knowing he is my bitch.”
TR – What is your frustration level with the UFC and its politics and selective matchmaking?
CC – “The sad thing about it is that Uncle Fester and the UFC really want to be legitimized as a sport. In what sport does number two come before number one? In what sport does the interim not fight the champion? It would be like in the NFL a few weeks ago the New England Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs advanced to the Super Bowl. And then Roger Goodell steps in and says “Sorry, Tom Brady and the Patriots, you aren’t going to the Super Bowl because we don’t like you. We are sending the Chiefs to the big game.” It makes no sense and it shows the true colors of the UFC. It’s not really a sport. It’s a show and a circus and it’s a sad, corrupt business.”
TR – Have you had the chance to sit down with Dana White and try to clear the air?
CC – “Even before we had our blow up I was reaching out to him. Dana let’s sit down and talk. You want to do this fight. Explain to me why you want to do this fight. Tell me the real reason why you want to do this fight. Before I blew up on him, he wouldn’t even give me a sit down meeting. He gives sit down meeting to every other fighter in the organization. I’m not going to be shy about my feelings anymore. Before, I was hiding things and saying positive things on the UFC’s behalf that weren’t true. It’s a corrupt business and they do some shady dealings and some shady business. I don’t want to be a part of it anymore, to be honest. I wish they would just give me my release. Uncle Fester doesn’t have a big enough ball sack to release me.
“I have heard a lot of stuff about him and fighters hooking up and him and ring card girls hooking up. He’s a piece of shit dirt bag. Whether we hate each other or not, he is going to have to do something. He will have to come to terms and realize that this is business. You don’t have to like everybody in business. I am what’s best for business. I have never used the UFC for anything. They have never promoted me. They have never sent me out to do things like they do some of their other golden ponies. I am a self a marketer. I am self-made. I literally made everything on my own. I did this all on my own. I don’t need the UFC anymore. They are going to have to give me a release or they will be in deep water because I will take them to court.”
TR – It seems that the new trend is many high level fighters in the UFC exploring free agency and finding great landing spots in other organizations all around the world. I assume you would be more than open to fighting for Bellator, ONE Championship or another major MMA promotion?
CC – “Absolutely. To see that Eddie Alvarez got a ten million dollar contract with ONE, that’s huge. That’s awesome. Everybody thinks the UFC is a monopoly and that they run the field. That’s what the UFC does to the fighters. They put fear in the fighters to feel that they are the only game in town. That’s not what it is. You have Bellator, you have ONE and a number of other organizations out there making their way up paying fighters well. There is a market out there. There are other options. The UFC is not the only game in town anymore and that is exciting for fighters.”
TR – You mentioned that you have built everything you have and reached levels you have reached by self-marketing. You have talked yourself into opportunities and crushed those opportunities. Kudos to you for doing that. But have you received crazy messages, death threats and things of that nature with some of the edgier stuff you have said and done?
CC – “Oh, yeah, big time. After I called Brazilians filthy animals and I called the country a dump I had thousands and thousands of death threats in my Instagram and Twitter messages. It was getting so bad that the UFC had to move my fight for the belt with Rafael Dos Anjos from Brazil. The UFC was getting such bad threats from the favelas and gangs in Brazil that it was too big of a liability to take me there. My life is definitely in danger. That’s why I stay inside these days. I don’t really do too much outside. I stay indoors, focus on my training and getting to the next fight. That’s what comes with the territory. Its big business that I’m doing right now. A lot of people have problems with me, thinking I’m racist and think I’m this or that. There are no facts. It’s all fake news. I definitely have to be low profile. There are a lot of liberals in Florida and people want me dead along with the heat I have in Brazil, I have to make sure I have my life so I can do this business. The best thing is to keep a low profile and stay out of the public eye.”
TR – That seems like a really tough way to live long term. Do you see the heat cooling off at some point?
CC – “Its tough, man. I am always looking over my shoulder. I am overly conscious that someone is going to come up and sideswipe me or something. It’s a tough way to live but this is what I asked for. I want the big business. I don’t want to fight for peanuts. I want to maximize my earning potential and get the most amount of money possible. If I have to live with a bunch of heat and death threats I am willing to go that route because I want to secure a future financially for myself and retire young.”
TR – Bottom line, love or hate you, you move the needle. People care and what you do is effective. Is that the bottom line? Love me or hate me, just feel something.
CC – “Exactly. These people don’t realize that I am creating entertainment for their lives. Whether they are the haters coming in saying they hate me and want me dead, they are letting their frustrations and emotions out on me. That is probably making their lives better. For the people that love me they get what I am doing. I’m putting on a show. I am entertaining fans. It’s not like when Tyron Woodley fights people turn the channel to Real Housewives. When I fight people don’t turn the channel. They want to see me fight.”