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Colby Covington open to moving up for fight with ‘cardio kickboxer’ Israel Adesanya

UFC 272: Covington v Masvidal Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

Colby Covington will need to put in the work to get back to a shot at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight gold. The story might not be the same when it comes to the 185-pound weight class, however.

Covington — a two-time title challenger and former interim titlist — most recently rebounded off a loss to Welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, scoring a unanimous decision over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272 earlier this month (March 5, 2022). Despite the solid outing, Covington still has two recent losses to Usman, which likely will prevent him from getting a third crack at “Nigerian Nightmare” as soon as he may like — no matter how competitive they were.

“I think I can definitely go up to 185 and fight [Israel] Adesanya,” Covington told Submission Radio. “But, I don’t know if he’s gonna turn around like that. But he doesn’t have a dance partner right now. I mean, some of the guys they’re trying to line him up with, it’s unoriginal. Why can Usman fight him and all the fans want that, but the guy that beat Usman — I beat Usman. I beat Usman twice. Usman sucks, dude. Everybody knew in Madison Square Garden I won those last three rounds. It was an easy win for me, easy decision victory. Unanimous. So, why can’t I fight Adesanya? He can’t stop my wrestling. I’ll pick him up and drop him on his f—king head.

“He’s a cardio kickboxer,” Covington continued. “They got enough cardio kickboxers in women’s classes around the U.S. Like, I could go join one of those as well, but I decided to pick up hard grueling American wrestling. So, I don’t think Adesanya could stop my American wrestling, and I don’t think he’s that good a fighter.”

Israel Adesanya successfully defended his Middleweight crown for the fourth time at UFC 271 in Feb. 2022 with a hard-fought unanimous decision over Robert Whittaker. That same night, Jared Cannonier knocked out Derek Brunson to presumably earn the next title shot (watch highlights).

At this stage in his career, Covington is no stranger to big fights and creating rivalries as seen in the majority of his recent outings. Even though 185 pounds is above “Chaos’” natural walkaround weight, it’s something he wouldn’t want to make permanent.

There’s also still business to be had at 170, as Covington hopes former teammate and former Lightweight title challenger, Dustin Poirier, steps up to the challenge.

“I want to give the fans the biggest fight possible,” Covington said. “So, I don’t cut weight to go to 170, so I’m not gonna go up to 185 and make it a full-time home. But I’m waiting for the big fights to present themselves. And the two biggest fights in my mind, go beat up Adesanya, the guy who just has cardio kickboxing, he’s not that good of a fighter, he’s not well-rounded, he can’t stop my American wrestling. I’ll melt that guy. He’ll 100 percent melt under my pressure and my pace.

“Or fight Dustin, the guy who said it’s on sight. He wants to come up to my weight class 170, he said this and that, he’s supposed to be some pound-for-pound great fighter. So, if you’re pound-for-pound great, then come fight. What are you so scared of, man? Like, how are you going to live with yourself knowing that I talked down on your family and on your people and your friends and you didn’t do s—t about it. You didn’t even try.”

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