Colby Covington’s rise to UFC ‘super villain’ ahead of Kamaru Usman rematch

Colby Covington is one of the UFC's most controversial personalities, but he's also one of the best welterweights on the roster.

At the top of a stacked out UFC 268 card this weekend, Covington has the chance to avenge his loss to Usman and become the undisputed welterweight champion.

His journey to becoming a perennial contender at 170-pounds has been eventful, bad-mouthing almost every fighter who has tried to stand in his way.

But with shutout wins against former champions Tyron Woodley and Robbie Lawler, there's no doubting Covington is the toughest test for Usman.

And ahead of his fight at UFC 268, here's all you need to know about Covington's journey to self-proclaimed "super villain"…

Roommates with Jon Jones

Covington and Jones lived with each other in the same room for two years at Iowa Central Community College.

Both men were talented wrestlers at the college, with Covington holding a 34-0 record and winning the junior title at 165lbs.

And Covington admitted the pair used to get into a lot of trouble in their college days.

"We got into a lot of trouble. When you're in a small town in Iowa, a lot of kids are farm kids, and they always wanted to start some stuff with the wrestlers…they'd always try to pick fights at our house parties and stuff," he told the MMA Roasted podcast.

"Especially Jon. He'd be throwing people through windows and stuff. It was nuts. He has a bad temper. When he gets mad, he gets mad."

"We would just clear out the place of a bunch of townies."

Their relationship has since turned sour, with Jones discrediting Covington's claims that they lived together for two years and calling him a "habitual liar".

"Colby's a habitual liar, at the end of the day. He really is, he told the fans we lived together for two years. We lived together for one semester," Jones said before UFC 247.

"I've made a lot of mistakes and lot of people don't consider me to be a good person, but coming from me, Colby's a really bad person."

Early UFC days

Covington signed for the UFC in 2014 just two years after making his professional MMA debut.

He amassed a 5-0 record fighting on the regional scene in Florida and picked up a win against Jose Caceres, the only man to defeat Usman.

'Chaos' started his current UFC tenure with three straight wins, but would suffer a setback at UFC 194 in 2015 when he was choked out by Warlley Alves.

The American took some time away from the came to make some adjustments that paid off, picking up three straight wins in 2016.

Covington was gaining some serious momentum at 170-pounds by outclassing veterans Dong Hyun Kim and Demian Maia to set up an interim title fight with Rafael Dos Anjos.

He would outpoint the Brazilian to win the title but was stripped of his title the following year due to inactivity.

Covington finally got his fight with Usman in 2019 after breezing past former champion Lawler, but the Nigerian would stop him after a thrilling five-round encounter.

The 33-year-old has now earned himself a second fight with Usman having silenced another rival in Woodley last September, and he promises to utilise a "new gameplan" against the champion.

Heel turn

Despite holding a 6-1 promotional record at the time, Covington was told the promotion wouldn't re-sign him before the final fight on his UFC contract against Maia in 2017.

According to Covington, the UFC didn't find him or his fighting style entertaining and had no interest re-signing him, even if he was to beat Maia.

Covington then transitioned from having no interest in the showmanship of MMA to being a complete entertainer.

He credited a controversial post-fight interview after his win against Maia for saving his career, in which he labelled Brazil a "dump" and the crowd as "filthy animals ".

"So I go shoot this promo and I wasn't supposed to have my job but that promo goes so viral on the internet," he told The Candace Owens Show.

"The UFC's like 'we have to keep him, we have to resign him because that promo is so big'. So that's what saved my career and what was the turning point of my career."

Covington has since become notorious for his brash personality and trash-talking his opponents, something he thinks has made him the "super villain" of the UFC.

"I'm good for business. I'm the super villain of this division. I'm the super villain of the whole entire UFC. They're starting to realize my worth. I'm the most notable fighter right now," he told MMA Weekly.

Visiting Donald Trump

Just one day before his title fight against Dos Anjos in 2018, Covington boldly claimed he was going to bring the belt to the White House for then President Trump.

In a fight that many backed him to lose, Covington outworked the former lightweight champion over five rounds to win UFC gold.

Covington kept true to his promise the next month, visiting the White House to take a picture with Trump and his newly-won title.

Covington has since stayed in touch with Trump and members of his family, taking his belt to Trump Tower to visit Donald Trump Jr in 2019.

Following his win against Woodley last year, Covington received a phone call from the former President to congratulate him on the win.

And Covington said members of Trump's family will be in attendance at UFC 268 to support him against Usman.

"Yes, there will be some members of the Trump family there," he told TMZ.

"You know, I was just talking to Donald Trump yesterday. He was at the golf course, giving me his well wishes.

"I know he has a big rally that day so I’m not sure if he’s gonna be able to make it, but I’m sure that I’ll have my average phone call with him after my every fight. So, I’ll be talking to him."

Who wins at UFC 268, Usman or Covington? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below

Rivalry with Usman

Covington and Usman's rivalry has become one of the most intense UFC feuds in recent years.

It seemed after Usman's stoppage win in their first fight that the dust would settle, but Covington later accused Usman of cheating to get the win.

The American said Usman faked a low blow and eye poke, whilst also criticising referee Marc Goddard's stoppage of the fight.

Their rivalry has pushed into new boundaries since their 2019 meeting, with Covington taking a shot at Usman's heritage after being called by President Trump last year.

He said to Usman: "Who did you get a call from? Did you get a call from, freaking, your little tribe? Did they give you some smoke signals for you?"

And Covington claimed at the UFC 268 press conference on Thursday that Usman was purposely trying to avoid their rematch.

"He aborted this rematch at all costs. Uncle Dana and the UFC had to force his hand. He was trying to fight other lightweights," he said.

"He was trying to fight Nate Diaz. He was trying to fight anybody but this rematch, he knows who daddy is. He knows who really won that fight.

"If he didn't fake time-outs the first fight I would have destroyed him. It's ok, I'm back better late than never. I don't live in the past and Saturday night, I'm smashing Marty 'Fakenewsman'."

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