Amassing a 5-1 record in the UFC’s talent filled welterweight division; Colby Covington will look to extend his win streak to 3 when he takes on Bryan Barberena at UFC Sacramento. After dropping his first fight as a professional to Warlley Alves last year, he has since bounced back with 2 straight finishes.
Barberena is coming off of a submission win over prospect Sage Northcutt and picked up an impressive decision win over Alves who Covington lost to last year. Despite that, Covington hasn’t necessarily been impressed with Barberena’s recent surge.
“No I’m not really impressed. He’s a resilient fighter, he’s earned respect but I’m not really impressed by a fighter like Bryan Barberena, I’m shooting for the top of the division. I’m not shooting for the guys that are prospects and he’s going to find out that I’m not a prospect, I’m a contender.”
Having dropped his first professional fight to Alves, Covington feels that he wasn’t himself entering that contest and come December 17th, he will look to prove that he is the better fighter than Barberena.
“That fight that I lost, people in my gym and my coaches they know the truth behind it,” Covington said. “I entered the fight with a broken rib, I was broke, I was trying to get a paycheck and I was just showing up. I wasn’t in the right mind frame to fight that night so the past is in the past and they’re going to find out the true me. They’re going to see my true potential and this is going to be a little bit of a revenge fight, it’s going to be sweet for me.”
Despite entering this contest very confident, he is aware of what Barberena brings to the table as a fighter. Barberena has proven his toughness with his come from behind victory versus Sage Northcutt as well as being able to weather Alves’ early storm and take home the decision. For Covington, he will look to pick up his third straight finish proving his worth in the stacked welterweight division.
“He doesn’t get finished, he’s a type of fighter that you can put a high pace on him but you can’t wear yourself out because he’s going to be coming,” Covington said on Barberena. “He’s the type of fighter that as the fight goes on, he progresses and gets stronger so you can’t keep a guy like that in the fight so when you gotta finish him you gotta finish him, you kind of have to pace yourself against a fighter like that.”
Born in Sacramento, he will get to fight in front of his friends and family which has added extra motivation for him. In a card filled with Sacramento’s finest; Team Alpha Male’s Urijah Faber, Paige VanZant and Josh Emmett, Covington will also look to feed off of the crowd’s energy.
“Yeah this is a dream come true, this is everything I’ve ever wanted, this is where I was born and this is right next to where all my friends and family live so I’m going to have a couple of hundred people in the cheering section cheering for me. That gets me excited and a little more pumped up to put on a better show for my people.”
In this training camp he has enlisted the help of former welterweight champion and ATT teammate, Robbie Lawler as well as rising contender Jorge Masvidal who’s coming off an impressive first round win over Jake Ellenberger last week. With elite level teammates by his side, Covington feels that we’ll see the best version of him yet.
“You’re going to see a lot more variety of attacks from me in this fight and definitely, probably expect a knockout. I’ve gotten Robbie Lawler to help this whole camp and that’s been amazing I can’t thank him enough. Jorge Masvidal is my best friend and we’ve been training for six years.”
“The biggest improvement you’ll see is my striking, I feel I’m the best wrestler in the world, the best grappler in the world and you’re about to find out I’m the most well rounded fighter in the world.”
Covington will fight in Sacramento alongside his fellow American Top Team teammates, Brad Pickett and Cole Miller. Using the energy level and talent at the gym to raise his game, Covington is confident he will finish Barberena as he then plans on calling out the top guys in the division.
“I’m going to finish him for sure. I’m not going to say where because I’m not going to let him think that he’s knows what I’m going to do but I’m definitely going to finish him. He’s not making it more than 2 rounds.”
“I’m definitely going to call out the highest ranked guy I can get. I’m not looking for top 15, top 10; I’m looking for that championship belt. I’m going to be calling out the top dogs because that’s what I feel I am right now.”
Surveillance Video Shows Conor McGregor Smash Phone
In a new video released by TMZ Sports, UFC star is shown knocking a phone down and smashing it in front of the Fountainebleau hotel located in Miami, Florida.
In true McGregor fashion, he followed up the destruction of the phone by doing his famous “billionaire strut.”
McGregor got into an altercation with Ahmed Abdirzak who was following and filming McGregor with his cell phone while McGregor and his entourage were leaving the hotel.
McGregor reportedly extended his hand to offer a hand shake, only to pull it back and smack the phone out of Abdirzak’s hand and proceeding to stomp on it.
After a few stomps, McGregor picks up the phone and walks away. He was later arrested, that same day, and has been charged with felony robbery and misdemeanor criminal mischief, which could land him in prison for up to 6 years.
McGregor has pled not guilty on all charges and is scheduled for trial beginning in May.
Abdirzak filed a lawsuit against McGregor stemming from the incident, but dropped his suit after the two sides worked out a settlement.
Abdirzak was reportedly demanding north of $15,000.
INTERVIEW: John Kavanagh Talks Brave CF 13 in Belfast, Frans Mlambo’s Title Fight and SBG Ireland
Renowned head coach of SBG Ireland, John Kavanagh has helped put Irish MMA on the map. With his star student and multiple time UFC champion, Conor McGregor taking over the MMA world, the two have opened up unlimited doors for the rest of the team.
Today, Kavanagh is leading some of the younger generation to world title fights and global organisations. On June 9th, one of his promising young fighters, Frans Mlambo will get a shot at gold when he takes on Stephen Loman for the Brave Combat Federation bantamweight title.
The two met back in the promotion’s first ever show in Bahrain when Loman picked up a unanimous decision win over Mlambo. It was a learning experience for the young South African who has picked up 3 straight finishes since. Kavanagh is confident that the former IMMAF world champion, Mlambo has all the tools to become champion.
Also competing on the Brave CF 13 card from SBG Ireland, is Cian Cowley (0-1) who takes on Daniel Olejniczak (2-1-1) and Tommy Martin (6-4) who takes on Wales’ Aidan James (1-0).
I spoke to John Kavanagh on the upcoming Brave CF 13 show, Mlambo’s improvements and the team’s preparation for their upcoming bouts. Check out the interview below.
Farah Hannoun: Brave Combat Federation are making their first trip to Europe, you’ve witnessed the organization’s growth so how excited are you to see them go to Belfast?
John Kavanagh: Brave is fast becoming one of the world’s biggest MMA shows so it’s of course great to have them visit Ireland. However, I would have preferred Dublin because that’s my hometown.
Farah Hannoun: Frans Mlambo is headlining the event, with a record of 5-2, he’s practically grown up in the cage, how proud are to see him turn things around with 3 straight finishes since losing to Loman the first time?
John Kavanagh: He’s earned that title shot with exciting finishes both by submission and KO. He’s finding his way in the cage nicely now.
Farah Hannoun: What adjustments has Mlambo made since the first fight with Loman? What do you feel like went wrong the first-time round?
John Kavanagh: His grappling was too weak back then. He’s one of the best strikers I’ve ever seen and now his grappling is catching up. Frans is one of the top 135lb fighters in the world.
Farah Hannoun: Cian Cowley is set to make the walk for the second time in his pro career when he takes on Daniel Olejniczak, in light of the legal issues he’s had the misfortune of dealing with, how hard was it for him to put all that aside and focus on the fight?
John Kavanagh: Cian is very mature and focused. It’s not a problem for him to block out what’s going on outside.
Farah Hannoun: Also competing from SBG, is Tommy Martin who’s looking to bounce back when he takes on Aidan James, how’s he been looking at the gym and what can we expect from him?
John Kavanagh: Tommy is a technician. Clean striking, one of best doubles on my team and tidy on the ground. His opponent is similar, solid technician. This fight will be very interesting for those who like nice technique.
Farah Hannoun: You’ve played a massive role in the growth of Irish MMA, SBG and Conor McGregor. The impact that you and Conor have had has resulted in a lot of opportunities and a spotlight on the guys at the gym. Does the idea that people have the perception that the SBG guys get “special treatment” or extra opportunities bother you?
John Kavanagh: No, we’ve earned it 😉
Farah Hannoun: You must be really proud, bringing up a talent such as Frans from his IMMAF world champion days to now him getting a title shot at Brave CF, what are your thoughts on Frans as an individual and a fighter?
John Kavanagh: One of few 135lbs in the world with genuine 1 punch KO power. A very good singer and cook too!
Farah Hannoun: You wrote a mega successful book, Win or Learn, which is even a quote that people have been using a lot when competing in MMA. Your best-selling book was even translated to multiple languages and sold internationally which is incredible. Did you expect the book to be so successful when writing it and do you have plans on writing another one someday?
John Kavanagh: No, I thought maybe my mother would buy a few copies and that’d be it haha. I believe almost 50,000 sold worldwide and talk of a movie adaptation. It’s crazy. Maybe one more book when I’m retired.
After his impressive finish over Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, Vicente Luque eyeing Darren Till
When Luan Chagas was forced out of his fight versus Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, The UFC called Vicente Luque and he happily accepted.
He stepped in on short notice and took out one of the toughest surging welterweights in Niko Price.
He hurt Price with a counter right before locking in one of his favourite submissions, the D’arce choke. This marked Luque’s 5th win in 6 UFC outings making him one of the brightest young stars in the division.
“I wanted to go out there and have an impressive fight,” Luque said.
“I thought that was very important especially that I was coming off a 4 fight win streak then I had a loss so I wanted to keep that momentum. I think I did that and it definitely puts me back where I was before going after those top 15 guys.”
He now turns his attention to a fellow rising star, Darren Till. Till took out Cowboy Cerrone in the first round last month in Gdansk and Luque feels he would match up well with him.
“I would really like to fight Darren Till,” Luque said. “He’s a great striker and his last fight was really impressive against Cowboy. I’m a striker as well and I would love to test my striking and see who the best striker in the division is.”
And should the UFC decide to go a different direction, Luque would be content fighting anyone in the top 15. With 5 wins and 5 finishes in the division, he feels he’s earned a high ranked opponent or a big name.
“I want a top 15 opponent for sure but if they don’t give me that I’ll be looking for someone with a big name,” Luque said. “Guys like Alan Jouban who already have a name and everybody knows who they are. Those are the guys that I want to be fighting.”
Another name Luque is interested in is Colby Covington who fought on the same card as him. Covington took out former title challenger Demian Maia and proceeded to cut a heavy promo, blasting the Brazilian crowd.
Covington’s harsh and controversial comments towards Brazil didn’t sit well for Luque who sees multiple benefits of fighting him.
“I definitely think that was disrespectful not only to Brazilians but to anybody that watches MMA,” Luque said. “I don’t think that’s the posture of an athlete. I don’t take it personally but I would love to fight him no matter what whether he was disrespectful or not because he’s a top contender.”
The welterweight division is arguably the most talked about division. With rising stars such as Darren Till, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington and Mike Perry, Luque feels like his name should be thrown in the mix too.
“I think I’m getting up there and slowly getting my spot. I’m having good fights and I know what I’m capable of and that’s what I’m trying to show. I’m doing my thing and I feel that my fights speak for themselves.”
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