ATT coach Din Thomas gives his thoughts on the Usman-Covington stoppage at UFC 245, and what Amanda Nunes has left to do in MMA.
Din Thomas is more than just an interested observer of the fight game. The American Top Team coach and former UFC fighter trains some of the best, including women’s featherweight champ Amanda Nunes.
Which make’s Thomas’ take on UFC 245, a solid night of fights for the UFC, a little more notable than most.
Speaking to Cageside Press, Thomas gave his thoughts on the end of the Usman-Covington fight, which served as the UFC 245 main event. Most had the pair even heading into the final round, and on that point, Thomas agrees. “I thought the score was 2 to 2 as well. I can’t remember which rounds I thought they won a piece, but I thought it was 2 to 2.”
“I knew that fight was going to be close,” he added. “A lot of people were like— I had one guy tell me ‘oh man Usman’s going to knock him out early.’ I’m like ‘nah man, this fight’s going to be a lot closer than you think.’ I had it 2 to 2 going into that fifth round. I also had Colby winning up until he started losing in that fifth round.”
Covington wound up being stopped in that frame, but he nearly immediately protested the stoppage. Despite ‘Chaos’ not being the most sympathetic figure, a number of observers agreed, feeling the stoppage was too early.
“A lot of people think it was too soon,” acknowledges Thomas. “But here’s another thing too, if he had a broken jaw and they knew about it, the refs knew about it, they should have stopped it right then and there. He shouldn’t have been able to continue.”
As Thomas points out, Covington announced loud and clear that he’d broken his jaw during the fight. It was clearly audible on the broadcast. “So at that point somebody probably could have alarmed the ref that he’s got a broken jaw, and they would have stopped it. Because if he had a broken jaw before the fight, they wouldn’t let him fight. If he had a broken arm in the fight, they’re going to stop it. If you have a broken jaw in the middle of the fight, they probably should stop it.”
“I’m not sure the ref was aware of it, so that kind of makes the point not very relevant,” Thomas later added, “but I thought the stoppage was good. Colby wasn’t coming back from that. As soon as he got knocked down, I think that fight was over.”
The other talking point, as it pertains to Covington, centered around comments made by Jon Jones at the UFC 247 press conference held late last week. Jones, a former college roommate of Covington, called Covington a “terrible human being.”
Covington, of course, is a member of American Top Team. So Thomas’ take on the welterweight is interesting to say the least.
“They obviously have history. He probably knows Colby better than I do. What I know of Colby is he’s quiet in the gym,” he stated. “And before he was ‘Colby Covington,’ he was Colby Covington in the gym. And he never had a problem with anybody. He’s quiet, he’s a hard worker, he trains a lot, and trains really hard. And that’s what I know of him and that’s the only thing I can say about it. He trains really hard, he’s a hard worker. And he willed himself to an interim title and a title shot.”
“He’s a good fighter. What he did to Robbie Lawler was impressive, and what he’d done up until that that point was impressive. He’s a good fighter, you can’t take any of that away with him. But Jon Jones and him have history,” Thomas added. And perhaps you have to take Jones at face value. “If Jon Jones says it, you kind of have to maybe take his word for it. Who knows.”
Colby Covington will likely always be a divisive figure. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Amanda Nunes, who has nearly unified fan opinion as to who the greatest female fighter of all time is. It’s hard to argue against ‘The Lioness,’ who holds wins over Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Cris Cyborg, Holly Holm, Germaine de Randamie, Valentina Shevchenko, and others.
“There’s not really much for her. I said it, if she gets past Germaine, the drop-off of talent is so far down from that. It’s almost like, she can just mail it in. They might as well just pay her,” Thomas said. “There’s not many challenges for her at this point with many of the girls. The only thing that I can see happening is they give her whoever is next, and she just doesn’t train for it, and just loses. But if she trains for any of the girls that are up-and-coming, they’re just so far under Germaine, or Cyborg, or Miesha Tate, they’re just so far under that.”
“Amanda, what she’s done has been incredible,” he continued. “We haven’t seen anybody do what she’s done, and that’s take out all those former champions. Take them out. She almost took out Germaine. And Amanda did not fight a great fight. I’ll admit that. She didn’t fight a great fight. Germaine is dangerous. Germaine is more dangerous than she is good. She’s dangerous, and she had Amanda in trouble a lot.”
Nunes, however, showed she could deal with adversity, and deal with fatigue. She was hurt and came back, Thomas observed. “I don’t see anything else that she can do right now that will put a feather in her camp. She’s done everything she can do with those divisions.”
Watch our full interview with Din Thomas, including his response to the idea of Nunes fighting boxer Clarissa Shields, above!