According to Colby Covington, he wasn’t even on the UFC’s radar heading into his showdown with Demian Maia in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Oct. 28, 2017.
Despite being 7-1 during his Octagon tenure up to that point, Covington wasn’t exactly a well-known commodity in the sport. As a result, it wasn’t a guarantee that the Las Vegas-based promotion would re-sign him after he fulfilled his contract against Maia.
He claims that changed following his infamous post-fight interview in Sao Paulo, where he drew the wrath of the Brazilian crowd by calling them “filthy animals” and their country a “dump.”
“I think my big break – I’ve never told this story before – but three fights ago before I fought the No. 2 guy in the world, this guy named Demian Maia in Brazil, they had told my manager Dan Lambert that they weren’t going to re-sign me,” Covington said on "The Candace Owens Show.” “They didn’t like my style. They didn’t like that I wasn’t entertaining, and this is before I really started to become an entertainer and understand the entertainment aspect of this business. So before this fight, they told me no matter what happens — I was ranked No. 6 in the world — we’re not re-signing you.
“‘We don’t like your character. We don’t like your fighting style.’ And I’m getting paid $30,000 to go fight the No. 2 guy in the world. Like, after you pay taxes and pay your coaches, you’re really going to get like five or 10 thousand dollars. So I go out there. I beat him up and leave him in a pool of his own blood in Sao Paulo, Brazil, his home city, and I shoot this promo on the Brazilians, and I say, ‘Hey, you guys are all a bunch of filthy animals, and, Brazil, you’re a dump.’”
That cemented Covington as one of the sport’s most notorious villains, and it also got him a new UFC deal.
“So I go and shoot this promo, and I wasn’t supposed to have my job, but that promo goes so viral on the internet, the UFC’s like, ‘We have to keep him,'” Covington said. “‘We have to re-sign him because that promo was so big,’ so that’s what saved my career, and that was the turning point of my career and the rest has been history.”
Covington’s success has continued since then, as he has earned convincing decision victories over Rafael dos Anjos and Robbie Lawler. “Chaos” will challenge Kamaru Usman for the welterweight crown in the UFC 245 main event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night.