Retired UFC Star Clarifies His Beef With Colby Covington

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada of USA TODAY Sports

It seems like every month rising contender Colby Covington is feuding with a new name.

This UFC prospect is attempting to get his name out there to become popular in this entertainment era of the UFC.

He first got into the public eye with a xenophobic tirade following his victory over Demian Maia in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Since then he has feuded with various fighters.

Now, he is going after former UFC title contender Kenny Florian. If you recall, Florian, along with current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, took a few cracks at Covington’s title hopes in a segment on a recent episode of UFC Tonight.

This made Covington upset and took to Twitter to let Florian know his opinion. Thus, they exchanged words.

Florian addressed Covington’s behavior in an interview with Submission Radio.

“I think in some ways and sometimes people kind of need to look at themselves a little bit,” Florian said, when asked about why he responded to Covington (transcript courtesy of Bloody Elbow). “And if I had the opportunity to be a mirror to Colby Covington, then I’m gonna do my best to do that. And, you know, listen, everyone has a different approach and everyone will live their life in whatever way they choose and that’s fine. But, I think that when you talk about bully-type mentalities and disrespect, I just don’t like that. I don’t like it.

“It’s something that I think is kind of poisoning the sport a little bit, and Colby is kind of one those guys who hasn’t shown the most respect to people. And at the end of the day, I think we are martial artists and it’s… you know, people already have a certain perception of cage fighters and I think that he’s not helping that perception, let’s put it that way.”

Despite all of that, it doesn’t mean that Florian doesn’t understand why Covington is taking the approach he is.

“I definitely respect the marketing aspect of it, right?” Florian elborated. “I think you can be confident and you can call out guys, you could say certain things, I think there’s just a certain level of respect. I think that when you start getting into like the bully-type mentality and you start really insulting, when you’re using things like gay slurs, when you’re using racist remarks, when you’re insulting countries and groups of people, that’s too much. We have enough of that going on in the world. And I think like we should kind of show a much more respectful side. That’s myself and that’s what I think.

“But, you know, as far as marketing yourself, I get that, but there is a line. Imagine if we picked our Olympic teams based on how good our trash talk was. Like, you know? ‘Oh that’s the number one guy, but he’s quiet, so we’re gonna give it to the number three guy because he has more twitter followers. Or this guy talks more trash, he’s really selling the fact that he’s going to win this hundred-meter race, so we’re gonna put him in there. Sorry, I know you got first place and you’re the fastest man in the world, but this guy really talks a good game, so we’re gonna just jump the line, okay? Is that cool with you?’ It just, it doesn’t make it a sport anymore, does it? And that’s kind of what bothers me, and not just me, I think it bothers a lot of the professional fighters. So the game has definitely changed since when I was fighting – now I sound like an old guy, which I am – but a balance needs to be found.”

“It’s possible. I mean, probably not likely,” Florian responded to the idea that Covington could become a fan favorite. “But I think Chael had a certain charisma about him and I think he had a certain wittiness about him, whereas Colby’s just… there’s not a whole lot of, I don’t know if there’s a whole lot of slickness to what he’s saying. It kind of just sounds like an angry 15-year-old, you know what I mean? Chael at least had knowledge of how to play the heel in a relatively intelligent way.”