Three days prior to his welterweight title challenge in the UFC 268 main event, Covington (16-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC) discussed the changes he’s made since his loss to Usman (19-1 MMA, 14-0 UFC) in December 2019. While he thinks numerous adjustments and improvements have been made, most of Covington’s confidence comes due to his move from American Top Team to MMA Masters.
“The first thing I needed to change, the biggest thing, was the people are me, the team around me,” Covington told MMA Junkie at a pre-fight news conference Wednesday. “Now, Daniel Valverde, my judo, my jiu-jitsu coach, my striking coach Cesar Carneiro, and my strength-and-conditioning coach Jonathan Lopez, my other coach Charlie Weis.
“I just have a newfound energy around me, people who genuinely care about me and they want to see me win. They’re not just showing up to get paychecks and just work to throw me out there into the fire. They actually have been developing my skills and we’ve been growing as a fighter every single day. You’re going to see new wrinkles in my game. We’ve updated the software. I’m going to control-alt-delete Marty on Saturday night.”
“If you go back and look at the first fight, the instructions that I was getting, they were telling me something that I do every single day,” Covington said. “They were telling me, ‘Colby, breathe.’ Dude, we breathe every single day. Why are you telling me to breathe? I mean, everybody in this room knows how to breathe. Not everybody knows how to fight and instruct fighters and the right instructions to fight. I made a lot of mistakes in that first fight. That was my worst night and I was still able to do that. That was his best night. Saturday night, we’re going to see the upgraded software.”
Covington refused to give an inch when it came to delving into his gameplan. He wanted to keep that totally under wraps. As he spoke more broadly on the topic, Covington guaranteed fans will see the final product of someone who put in a lot of hard work – and coaches who developed a well-thought-out plan.
“I work hard every single day in silence and I let success make noise,” Covington said. “People who believe in ring rust are the people who are mentally weak. If you believe there’s ring rust, then it’s probably going to happen. I don’t believe in that. I’ve been making so many strides with my new gym, with my new coaches, Daniel, Cesar, Jonathan, Charlie. We’ve developed a new game plan, a new strategy and we’re going to show you guys Saturday night. I can’t tell you. I am the king of spoilers, but I can’t give you any secrets.”
UFC 268 takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews/ESPN+ and early prelims on ESPN+.