From trash talk to broken jaw: What next for UFC loudmouth Colby Covington?
After months of heated buildup and back-and-forth insults, Colby Covington's pre-fight prophecy failed to come to fruition late on Saturday night in the highly publicized welterweight title bout in Las Vegas.
The challenger, in his own words the uncrowned king of the 170lb frame, pushed Usman about as far as anyone has in his UFC run to date but ultimately succumbed to a late TKO in the fifth round, ending indefinitely talk of his candidacy as the division's best fighter.
But, one suspects, this isn't the last we have heard of the brash American.Also on rt.com UFC 245: Kamaru Usman stops Colby Covington in five-round welterweight championship classic (VIDEO)
The broken jaw he suffered in the third round from an Usman right cross, which may or may not require his jaw to be wired shut for a number of weeks, will likely quieten the flow of insults for the time being (though apparently not on social media, where Covington has already expressed his displeasure at referee Marc Goddard). But once you strip away all of the excess, the defeat won't detract too much from the fact that he is – genuinely – one of the division's elite fighters.
With one round remaining, and apparently unencumbered by the stinging pain of a broken jaw, Covington pressed forward as the fight reached the championship rounds. The fight, essentially a deadlock at this point, would become a shootout between the pace and output of the challenger versus the champion's power and aggression.
The latter began to tell in the fifth. Usman landed a couple of heavy shots which dropped the challenger to the canvas, the second of which kept him there. The bout was waved off moments later.
For most fighters a loss of this magnitude would be devastating. It will probably feel as such for Covington when he wakes in the cold light of Sunday morning, particularly as he reflects on whatever corrective measures must be taken to repair his damaged jaw.
However, the silver lining is an obvious one: perhaps no other fighter in the welterweight fold would have been able to keep pace with Covington other than the champion.Also on rt.com ‘Normally people do their f*cking in the bedroom’: Colby Covington slams referee for stoppage after TKO defeat to Usman
The path back to title contention is a very navigable route. Two wins, along with the ensuing trash talk which would inevitably accompany it, will have him back knocking on the door of a world title shot but whether Usman will entertain this idea, or if he will still hold the belt, remains to be seen.
For Covington, the loss will no doubt be a tough one to bear and it will be magnified by the sheer magnitude of his pre-fight verbiage, but just like his idol, the man who occupies the White House's Oval Office, he is an expert at bending the narrative to whichever way he desires.
This loss will hurt Colby Covington, but it isn't the end of him.