What Colby Covington did to Demian Maia was not totally unlike what Tyron Woodley did to the Brazilian grappling ace some three months earlier. Only Covington believes his performance far surpassed the reigning welterweight king.
Like Woodley, Covington used his wrestling to thwart Maia at every turn, as he stuffed 13 takedowns en route to a unanimous decision triumph in the UFC Fight Night 119 co-headliner in Sao Paulo on Saturday night. Woodley, meanwhile, defended all 21 Maia takedown tries to retain his 170-pound belt at UFC 214 in a largely lackluster bout.
“Tyron Woodley, look what I did to Demian Maia in three rounds. I beat him way worse than Woodley could do in five rounds,” Covington said. “The only person I want to see in a contract in front of my face is Tyron Woodley. He´s been running from me, I have beat him in the gym before, I will finish him inside the Octagon.”
Woodley and Covington have shared the gym at American Top Team in the past. According to the man known as “Chaos,” he forced the champ to quit in the middleweight of five-round sparring session on one occasion.
“I finished him inside three rounds,” Covington said on Fox Sports 1. “He was supposed to go five rounds that day. He said, ‘I quit. I’m not going no more.’ He didn’t want to go. He didn’t like the pace. Look at how he fights. He backs up, he’s scared to fight. He fights conservative. I’ll finish him. He will break inside that Octagon. He will quit in there. I promise you that.”
Covington had taken an outspoken approach all week leading up to his bout with Maia, vowing to retire the 39-year-old inside of a round. While he didn’t get the finish he was seeking, Covington remained brash in the aftermath of his fifth consecutive victory, and he did little to endear himself to the Brazilian fans.
“It´s a disappointment to me. I came here to retire Demian Maia and finish him tonight. But after that, I don´t think he is coming back, so I am happy with that,” he said. “The crowd reaction was what I was looking for, they hate me and I don´t respect them. They don´t need to translate what I said because I was talking to America, where my fans support me.”
Covington admitted he can improve upon what he did against Maia, and he expects to showcase the best version of himself if and when the title shot against Woodley arrives.
“It wasn’t my best performance. I’ll have better performances,” Covington said. “I’m saving my best performance for Tyron Woodley.”