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Coach: Covington trains like a ‘soldier,’ will finish Woodley at UFC Vegas 11

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Colby Covington is entering an extremely important time in his professional career, as “Chaos” tries to fight back from a recent loss to UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.

It won’t be easy for Covington to regain his footing at 170 pounds considering he has to fight former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley later tonight (Sat., Sept. 19, 2020) at UFC Vegas 11 live on ESPN+ from inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will mark Covington’s first fight since leaving American Top Team (ATT) earlier this year.

Covington, 32, had been a member of ATT since his professional MMA career started. With some of the best fighters in the world to train with “Chaos” quickly climbed the ranks to make his UFC debut after just five pro fights. Unfortunately, Covington’s relationship with ATT ended earlier this year after the welterweight was unable to bit his lip in the gym. “Chaos” rubbed too many high-profile fighters the wrong way and had to go.

As a result, Covington was left to search for a new home to train. He ended up connecting with head coaches Daniel Valverde and Cesar Carneiro at Florida’s MMA Masters and the rest is history. Covington is happy and his new coaches have prepared him well.

“We’ve followed Colby’s MMA career since the beginning and we’ve always had a great relationship,” Valverde told MMA Fighting. “He got in touch with us [after leaving ATT] and asked if he could visit the gym to check it out and train there. He loved the team and is 200 percent on board with us.”

While Covington has been ridiculed in the past about his ability to work with teammates inside of the gym “Chaos” has been nothing but a true professional as a member of MMA Masters. That has allotted Valverde the time and focus to truly work Covington into a new fighter entering UFC Vegas 11.

“Working with Colby has been great,” Valverde said. “He’s very respectful, he’s a soldier. He’ll do everything you tell him to do without asking. ‘Do this kick, 100 times,’ and he’ll do it. ‘What do you want me to do today, coach?’ ‘I want you to do this and that.’ ‘Yes, sir.’ He’s a wonderful guy to work with. … We have many Brazilians working with us and everybody loves the guy.”

Covington, who is one of the most popular fighters in the UFCs welterweight division, is trying to claw his way back to another title fight. If “Chaos” is able to defeat Woodley this weekend in Vegas it may be enough to lock down a rematch with Usman, who defeated Covington via fifth-round TKO this past December.

“It was a very close fight with Kamaru and he’s made some mistakes that we are fixing in case he fights Kamaru again, mistakes he can’t make,” Valverde said. “He’s very excited to fight Tyron Woodley now. That’s a fight he’s always wanted — he didn’t want it to happen with both coming off losses, but let’s do it. Tyron Woodley is still ranked No. 5 and we know that a good wins gets us in a good position for a title shot.”

Covington’s future is certainly brighter than Woodley’s at this point in time, but that doesn’t mean “Chosen One” can’t win later tonight at UFC Vegas 11. Woodley enters his grudge match with Covington as a fairly big underdog as he comes off back-to-back loses so expect the former champion to be ready to roll.

“We’re obviously expecting the best Tyron Woodley, we’re training for that Tyron Woodley that was the champion,” he said, “But, from what I’ve seen from Colby in the gym, how happy he is to get to the gym and learn new things to add to his game, and the fact that I don’t expect Tyron Woodley to change that much… I believe Tyron Woodley will do what he always does and Colby will be prepared for every situation.

“I believe in a TKO finish, or maybe a submission. Anything can happen. Colby is prepared to finish this fight in all areas.”

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 11 fight card HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 5 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 8 p.m. ET.