Covington-Usman Bad Blood Escalates to Peak Level at UFC 245

Colby Covington & Kamaru Usman

Getty UFC Fighter Colby Covington.

The UFC has had its fair share of heated rivalries throughout its storied history. From Chuck Lidell and Tito Ortiz in the sport’s infancy to more recent spats between superstars Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, it isn’t uncommon to see promotional trash talk turn into something much more real.

While altercations between fighters can get ugly and dangerous, rarely do they spill into the realm of dragging deceased friends through the mud. However, UFC fighter Colby Covington decided to do just that when he repeatedly trashed the late founder of Kamaru Usman’s gym, Glenn Robinson.

While the beef had been steadily building since Usman stepped up to take the welterweight belt from Tyron Woodley, Covington took things to a level where even the sport’s most infamous trash talkers have kept off-limits.

UFC 245 takes place Saturday, December 14 at 10 p.m. ET in Las Vegas. It will air as a pay-per-view on ESPN+.

Order UFC 245 Now

Let’s take a deeper look at one of the most heated beefs in the UFC.

Kamaru Usman Instigates Backstage Scuffle With Colby Covington at UFC 223

Anatomy of UFC 223: Kamaru Usman backstage Altercation with Colby CovingtonAnatomy of UFC 223: presented by Anatomy of a Fighter. Directed by Will Harris Productions I am not sure how I am in the right place at the right time, but here is my perspective of Kamaru Usman getting into a verbal exchange with UFC Welterweight Colby Covington SUBSCRIBE TO THIS CHANNEL: Instagram: @willharrisproductions…2018-04-07T05:05:39.000Z

Though Covington has played the role of aggressor in their interactions recently, Kamaru Usman was actually the one who instigated the first scuffle between the two fighters. Going back to a press conference at UFC 223, Usman addressed Covington backstage and repeatedly called him out for calling out fighters on Twitter but acting differently in person.

Covington didn’t really engage with Usman at the time in what would be the opposite dynamic relative to many of the duo’s future interactions. Regardless, this played a big part in continuing to set the stage for the drama and trash talk between Usman and Covington.

Glenn Robinson, Founder of Kamaru Usman’s Gym, Passes Away

Rashad Evans remembers Glenn Robinson | Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show | ESPNFormer UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans joins Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show to remember his friend, Glenn Robinson, the founder of the Blackzilians, who died on September 19. ✔ Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: ✔ Subscribe to ESPN FC on YouTube: ✔ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: ✔ Watch ESPN…2018-09-25T04:40:28.000Z

Just the beef between Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman was starting to emerge, the founder of Kamaru Usman’s ‘Blackzilians’ gym, Glenn Robinson, passed away due to a heart attack. Covington has long had run-ins with the Brazilian fighters that populate the UFC. Given Usman’s close association with the community of fighters, there likely weren’t many warm feelings from either side before things came to a boiling point.

While the detail seemed insignificant to a future beef between the two fighters, the passing of Robinson is one of the key factors as to why things have gotten just so ugly between Covington and Usman.

UFC 245 airs December 14 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+. You can order it here.

Kamaru Usman Leapfrogs Colby Covington for Welterweight Belt

UFC 235: Kamaru Usman and Tyron Woodley Octagon InterviewKamaru Usman and Tyron Woodley both spoke with Joe Rogan after their UFC 235 title fight. Subscribe to get all the latest UFC content: Experience UFC live with UFC FIGHT PASS, the digital subscription service of the UFC. To start your 7-day free trial, visit To order UFC Pay-Per-Views, visit Connect with…2019-03-03T06:14:32.000Z

The beef between Usman and Covington can be traced back to early 2019. Covington had picked up the interim belt back in 2018 and despite not having lost, was stripped of his interim belt upon champion Tyron Woodley’s return due to an injury. Rather than a title unification bout between Woodley and Covington, Usman stepped up to fill the void left by the missing interim champion and promptly took the belt from Woodley.

Covington was vocal in his disdain for Usman leading up to the fight and even crashed the open workouts in order to throw taunts Usman’s way. While Covington picked up a quality win over Robbie Lawler in his return, he undoubtedly harbors significant resentment at the fact that Usman took his title shot and made the most of it.

While Usman remained focused on the task at hand while Covington attempted to rattle his cage, things would come to a boiling point shortly after Usman secured his title at UFC 235.

Colby Covington & Kamaru Usman Nearly Come to Blows After UFC 235

Kamaru Usman & Colby Covington Square Up in Casino Day After UFC 235 | TMZ SportsUFC's new welterweight champ, Kamaru Usman, just can't wait to get a piece of Colby Covington — so much so, in fact, that they almost came to blows inside a casino. SUBSCRIBE — About TMZ Sports: Some of the best stories in sports have been off the field and we’re reporting on athletes from…2019-03-03T23:01:58.000Z

For the first time in the Covington-Usman beef, things got physical. Immediately after Usman won the belt from Woodley, he left the Octagon and made a beeline for Covington – who was sitting in the front row.

While security held him back and kept this incident from escalating, they weren’t around when the two would cross paths again the next day. While casino security would end up breaking up the fight before anything serious happened, Usman and his team were clearly out for blood. Similar to the post-fight scuffle, security was more so needed to hold back Usman rather than Covington – who looked content to sit behind a wall of security and poke jabs at Usman from a safe distance.

Colby Covington Goes Over the Top With Comments About Glenn Robinson’s Death

VideoVideo related to covington-usman bad blood escalates to peak level at ufc 2452019-12-11T14:27:41-05:00

Most recently, Covington brought back up the unfortunate passing of ‘Blackzilians’ founder – and Usman’s manager – Glenn Robinson. Trash talk among fighters is par for the course, especially when there is some bad blood. However, Covington went considerably too far and said, ”I mean, he was ducking me so long that Glenn Robinson who was his manager, that Glenn Robinson died from it because he was ducking me so hard and wouldn’t fight me.” Covington would also go on to say that Robinson would be “watching the fight from hell”.

While Usman has remained tight-lipped on the subject, Robinson’s family would respond to Covington’s comments, as MMA Junkie revealed.

“It saddens us to even have to make a statement regarding a previous distasteful comment Colby Covington made suggesting our late father, Glenn Robinson, will be watching his upcoming fight from hell. However, after careful thought and consideration, on behalf of our family, we feel it is necessary to defend our father’s name.

“The death of our father is still very raw. Our family is still grieving from his loss, so imagine the hurt we felt to hear such hateful words recklessly said about our father.

“We understand the excitement of building up hype before a fight, but we are sure Colby Covington can get press for his upcoming fight on his own merit and without spewing hateful words towards our father, the founder of the Blackzilians. In fact, our father was the exact opposite of a hateful person. He gave countless opportunities to many people, both personally and professionally. He consistently put everyone else’s best interests before his own. Our father died too young, but we can proudly say he accomplished more during his short life than many others do in a full lifetime.

“Lastly, we did not want to make this statement or to breathe more life into someone that truly has no relevance in our lives, but we will always defend our father, his reputation and his name, the one we share proudly.”

Even compared to notoriously ruthless trash talkers like Conor McGregor, Chael Sonnen, or Michael Bisping, Covington clearly crossed a line in trying to promote the fight and likely stirred up an entirely different level of anger from Usman.

UFC 245 airs December 14 at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+. You can order it here.

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