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UFC Newark, The Morning After: Colby Covington makes a coward of Robbie Lawler

Here’s what you may have missed from last night!

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

I don’t know whether General George S. Patton or coach Vince Lombardi was the man to coin this famous quote, but I can promise that it serves as decoration in locker rooms and gymnasiums around the country. It is painted on a wall at Team Alpha Male alongside dozens of other motivational sayings, but more than any other quote — barring those penned by the great Dan Gable — it has really become the mantra of the wrestling community.

Often times, the best aspect a wrestler brings with him into the Octagon is not his years of experience on the mats or any particular technique. Instead, it’s a deep and familiar understanding of fatigue, a personal relationship with exhaustion and the ability to continue demanding one’s body work throughout the discomfort.

Colby Covington made Robbie Lawler — one of the most fearless and savage competitors to ever strap on a pair of gloves — into a coward last night (HIGHLIGHTS).

Using fatigue as his chisel, Covington broke Lawler down to nothing. A majority of the first 10 minutes was hard, punishing wrestling. Covington forced his way into the fence — often from a bad starting point — and transitioned until Lawler’s hands or butt hit the mat. From there, Covington could not contain Lawler permanently, but he forced him to scramble beneath the threat of a submission. When Lawler’s hard work brought him back to his feet, Covington put him back down.

Covington scored seven of his 10 total takedowns inside the first two rounds. Afterward, he could really do as he pleased. Lawler had been forced down into the absolute depths of fatigue, and he did not want a return trip. By the third round, Covington was not forcing the wrestling nearly as much. He was willing to stand in front of Lawler and strike, confident that Lawler would rather let rounds slip away than open up and be forced back into that previous state of depletion.

Depending on their background, fighters will give different answers on which discipline is the most fatiguing. Kickboxers tend to find tired wrestling miserable, whereas wrestlers lose the ability to throw a snappy punch before their powerful double leg abandons them. Regardless of background, however, most every fighter will likely agree that the most exhausting part of MMA is the transition between striking and wrestling.

They are different types of cardio. Grappling requests a type of long term strength, one of clinging and tension. Kickboxing requires speed and simultaneous looseness, small sprints that allow no rigidity. Switching between the two is awful, and many fights feature an almost unwritten agreement to take a few seconds for recovery between the two states.

Covington made Lawler switch directly from wrestling to kickboxing and back again dozens of times. After each completed takedown, Covington would began striking before Lawler had fully scrambled back up. Any time Lawler landed a decent jab, Covington drove back into the clinch or another shot. There was no pause in the transition, no chance for Lawler to take a breath and and get his body ready for the new task.

As a result, Lawler was more willing to hand over precious seconds of control time to Covington. There would be no infamous fifth round flurry from Lawler. He was both too tired and too apprehensive of worse fatigue to chance it.

When Colby Covington faces Kamaru Usman for the Welterweight title, it’s not going to be a battle decided by who’s the better striker, stronger athlete, or even superior wrestler. The belt will leave with the man who is willing to dive deeper into the pit of fatigue, and so far, neither has been matched in that realm.

For complete UFC ‘Newark’ results and play-by-play, click HERE!