Colby Covington has never been one to shy away from controversy, but at Thursday’s UFC 296 pre-fight press conference, the upcoming title challenger may have hit a new low.
In a back-and-forth with opponent and current champ Leon Edwards, Covington tried to get a line off about dragging the champ to hell. After tripping over his own tongue, “Chaos” got the intended result, drawing the ire of Edwards, who tossed a water bottle in the challenger’s direction.
“You’re so f*cking stupid. On Saturday night, I’m going to bring you to the seventh layer of hair,” spit Covington, before correcting himself. “Hell. No I’m bringing you to the seventh layer of hell. We’ll say ‘what’s up’ to your dad when we’re there.”
It was that final comment that clearly got under the skin of the defending welterweight champ. Leon Edward’s father was murdered when the future UFC champion was just 13, shot and killed in a British nightclub.
Security were quick to intervene, positioning themselves between the pair before any further conflict could happen. But Covington may have lit a fire under Edwards; whether that was wise, fans will find out Saturday.
Earlier, Covington had exclaimed that Leon Edwards had the “personality of a f*cking slug,” claiming he made ex-champ Kamaru Usman “look like James f*cking Brown.”
With Ian Garry off the card due to illness, much of Thursday’s press conference centered on Covington, decked out in colonial-era regalia and wig— and for some reason, a “Make America Great Again” cap. All week, Covington has been referencing 1776, the year America declared Independence from England. Covington is American, Edwards is British. The message is clear, but none of the trash talk strayed across the line prior to Covington’s dad crack.
Covington would manage to trade words with Tony Ferguson at one point, though the pair oddly wound up cutting a promo together (Ferguson would butt heads with opponent Paddy Pimblett later; Pimblett, aside from Covington, might have been the biggest focus of the presser).
But it was Colby Covington remaining front and center throughout. Asked by, presumably, as Australian journalist about making Australia great again, Covington replied by saying “I’m trying to make the whole world great again, that’s what it’s all about. Delivering an entertaining show for all these fans that pay their hard-earned money to come out there.”
“I’m going to keep putting on a show for the fans, keep making them excited. You can hate me or love me, but Saturday night you’re going to f*cking love what I do inside that octagon.”
They might love it. Depending on how Edwards reacts to Covington’s antics, it might be him getting the final laugh — but the exchange certainly had its intended effect.