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10th Jun 2018

Bad guy beats good guy for UFC’s interim welterweight title

Chael Sonnen 2.0

Darragh Murphy

It’s not often that you see an American crowd root for a Brazilian against one of their own but that’s just the kind of character that Colby Covington is.

Covington has adopted the Chael Sonnen model of self-promotion and whether you like it or not, it’s clearly working for ‘Chaos’.

On Saturday night, Covington proved that, like Sonnen and Conor McGregor, he’s much more than a trash talker as he exhausted former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in the co-main event of UFC 225.

Tireless forward motion from Covington earned him the interim UFC welterweight title and a date with Tyron Woodley before the year is out, as MMA’s proudest heel fuelled himself with the jeers from the Chicago crowd.

Covington came storming out of the traps to dive on a takedown and there was no sense of energy conservation from the American as he continued at a sprinter’s pace throughout the opening frame.

Covington’s fourth takedown from 11 attempts confirmed the second round as his, if his relentless forward pressure hadn’t already guaranteed that.

Throughout the third frame, veteran UFC commentator Joe Rogan’s comparisons between Covington and Nick Diaz appeared less ludicrous than the first mention as Dos Anjos wasn’t given a moment or inch to set himself.

A crunching left hand off the bat at the beginning of the fourth might have signalled a changing of the tide for Dos Anjos but Covington’s will was greater on the night and he bounced back off his stool for the final frame with the desire to put an exclamation point on the contest.

Once ring announcer Bruce Buffer confirmed that the decision was unanimous, there was little doubt in Covington’s mind and UFC President Dana White was soon wrapping gold around his waist.

“This is the real championship belt and I’m going to do what a real American should do by bringing this belt to the White House and putting it on Donald Trump’s desk,” Covington said.

“And, secondly, Tyron Woodley is a freaking coward. Why’d you let this filthy animal take this ass-whooping tonight? This was supposed to be you! You can’t run and you can’t hide no more. I’m coming for you.

“Like I say, this is the real championship belt and, Tyron Woodley, if you’ve got something to say then come see me, bitch!”