‘There will be no lucky Hail Marys’: Controversial Colby Covington looks to finally win gold at UFC 296 against Leon Edwards

Colby Covington was on the run of a lifetime from 2016 to 2019, beating some of the top stars in the UFC’s welterweight division on his way to a title shot. Four years later, Covington has one last chance to prove himself and win gold. He gets that opportunity when he faces Leon Edwards for the UFC welterweight title at UFC 296 on December 15. 

“Chaos” lost in two welterweight championship fights to Kamaru Usman. Following a hard-fought affair in 2019, Covington lost via TKO in the fifth at UFC 245. After defeating Tron Woodley, Covington faced Usman again and dropped a unanimous decision at UFC 268. The last time he competed was in a win over Jorge Masvidal in March 2022. 

It will be over 600 days since Covington, 35, last fought. Will he be up to the task of competing for a world title for what could be the final time?

“I’ve been using this time to get better, putting my nose to the grindstone and really [perfected] my craft,” Covington told The Sporting News. “I feel like I have no weaknesses or holes in my game now. The fans are in for a real treat.”

WATCH: UFC 296: Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington, exclusively on ESPN+

Edwards has had better luck against Usman. In August 2022, “Rocky” avenged a prior loss and picked up the UFC welterweight title by landing a dramatic kick to the head that dropped Usman. In a rematch in March, the English fighter edged Usman to hold onto his belt. Instead of facing the likes of Belal Muhammad and Shavkat Rakhmonov, Edwards was told he had to face Covington next. 

When not calling out Khamzat Chimaev and Islam Makhachev, stating he would break them with “Raw American Steel and Twisted Sex Appeal,” Covington has been at the gym, as well as Mar-a-Lago with former President Donald Trump. Covington attempted to have Trump come to the ring with him, which he stated was nixed due to logistical issues. His connection with Trump stems from a recent persona that resulted in him being alienated from gyms and those around him.

“This is my authentic self. I’m just not afraid to speak up and speak fast. I talk the talk, and I walk the walk,” Covington said. “Leon’s a little mumble mouth. He’s a low-IQ little f—— idiot. I’d love for the media to go ask Leon what’s his level of education. Did he even get through elementary school? That mumbling, fumbling idiot who’s always drooling on himself, honestly, I don’t think he got through elementary school.

“Who is he to talk about anything about a character or this and that? This is just me, and he’s in for a rude awakening. He’s been talking a big game. There’s a reason he ducked this fight and robbed his fans in the U.K. of a homecoming UFC world undisputed title fight. I feel bad for the U.K. fans, but it just shows he doesn’t give a s— about the U.K. fans. It makes sense because they don’t give a s— about him either.”   

MORE: How much have Leon Edwards and Colby Covington made in their careers?

Per Bet MGM, Edwards is the -160 favorite, while Covington is the +130 underdog. Despite the odds, Covington is confident in his ability. Covington used his fights against Usman and compared them to Edwards’ outings against him. He believes Edwards didn’t face the best of Usman, which will bite him on fight night. 

“Live on PPV from T-Mobile Arena in the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada, I’m going to bring the dog out in me and the quitter out in him. Usman is a shell of his former self than when he fought me. He was in his prime, and he was hungry. He really wanted to fight me and hurt me. I beat him. Madison Square Garden, you go back to our last title fight. I beat him those last three rounds easily. (Rounds) Three through five were my rounds, easily. I’ve watched that fight 100 times. I wasn’t even watching it biased… But that’s not the same Usman that Leon fought.

“[Edwards] got lucky that second fight. He landed a headshot kick when he was getting destroyed for 24 ½ minutes, and he got a lucky Hail Mary… There will be no lucky Hail Marys. I’m not going to let my foot off the gas like Usman did. I’m going to put my foot to the medal, and it’s going to be another 1776 act. The British don’t come to American soil and call the shots. It means you’re about to come over here, Junior, to America, to get your a– kicked, and you’re going to be sent back to the U.K. empty-handed. You don’t f— with America, Leon. 

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