Colby Covington ‘truly inspired’ by Trump support following dominant UFC Newark victory
Covington received a presidential endorsement of sorts in the hours before his clash as Donald Trump tweeted his support of former interim champion.
But in the end, such was his dominance on the night it seemed that neither a Trump tweet, nor the presence of the US president’s eldest sons in the front row, had any real impact on the evening’s proceedings.
Covington totally dominated his main event bout with Lawler from start to finish, using his relentless wrestling and prodigious cardio to wear down the former world champion in the opening two rounds.
Then Covington showcased his evolving striking as he comprehensively outstruck the noted knockout artist through the remainder of the contest to earn a landslide decision on the judges’ scorecards, 50-44, 50-45, 50-45.
Immediately after the judges’ decision was read, Covington paid tribute to the support of Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric, who sat cage-side at the event from the early portion of the card – something of a rarity nowadays for celebratory UFC attendees with events often extending past six or seven hours in duration.
And it was clear that Covington appreciated their presence, as he told UFC commentator Jon Anik that he was “inspired” by them being there, before touching on a few well-oiled Trump tropes during his post-fight interview.
“I was truly inspired when the first family came in the building and came to see me backstage,” Covington said. “Let’s give it up to the Trumps, they’re in the building tonight! They’re keeping America great!
“I also want to thank the troops. Without the troops, you know, our servicemen and women, none of this would be possible. They sacrifice their lives for our freedoms and I wouldn’t be able to do this today without them.”
Covington, by now clearly reveling in the image of the pro-wrestling heel which he has cultivated, addressed the man he had just defeated.
“Let’s talk about the lesson we learned tonight,” Covington continued. “It’s a strong lesson that Robbie should have learned from his good buddy Matt Hughes. You stay off the tracks when the train is coming through, junior. Don’t matter if it’s the Trump train or the Colby train, get out of the way!”
It was a reference to a 2017 incident in which a car being driven by Lawler’s former training partner, UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, was struck by a train, leaving him severely injured and in a coma.
He then focused his crosshairs on current 170lb king Kamaru Usman, who watched the fight from the arena as part of the ESPN broadcast team.
“I don’t want to wait until November 2 at Madison Square Garden to do it, we can do it tonight,” Covington declared, hinting at the likely date of their title fight. “We can do it right now. Where you at?”
Somewhat predictably, Covington’s actions post-fight didn’t go down well with members of the MMA community, some of whom took to Twitter to have their voices heard.
And Usman’s manager Ali Abdelaziz fired off a word of warning to the cocksure Covington ahead of their hotly-anticipated title clash.
“Colby looked good today,” he admitted in his post-fight tweet.
“But with the way he fought today I’ll give him 3rds max against @USMAN84kg. With his chin up in the air like that he will be waking up in NYU hospital.”