Colby Covington never believed the hype surrounding Ben Askren and now he’s celebrating with a chorus of ‘I told so’s’ following his five-second demise this past weekend at UFC 239.
Askren suffered the fastest knockout in UFC history courtesy of Covington’s teammate Jorge Masvidal, who exploded out of his corner as soon as the fight started and then blasted the former Olympian with a flying knee that brought an immediate end to the contest.
Covington, who is preparing for a fight of his own against Robbie Lawler on Aug. 3, was elated not only to watch Masvidal get the win but also because it came at the expense of Askren’s previously undefeated record.
“It was like called it,” Covington told MMA Fighting on Monday. “I said in a bunch of interviews leading up that he was going to land a knee on Askren. Askren is so predictable. He just comes in and puts his head down, he doesn’t even throw punches to set up his takedowns. He just shoots straight for takedowns. If you look at the Robbie Lawler fight, that’s exactly what he did. He just comes out and puts his head straight down. I saw that coming. I called it.
“Ben is overrated. Everybody knew that he only knew how to wrestle. That’s 0-2 now. That’s two knockout losses for him. He needs to go back to Asia with all the other inferior products.”
Askren definitely received a lot of attention after joining the UFC roster as part of an unprecedented trade that brought him to the promotion from ONE Championship.
He won his first fight in somewhat controversial fashion after surviving an early barrage from former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler to then earn a come from behind victory with a bulldog choke in the opening round of their encounter back in March.
Covington felt like Askren should have taken a loss in that fight but he was more than happy to watch Masvidal put him away in such dramatic fashion on Saturday night.
“The thing about that is you can buy your clicks, you can buy your followers but you cannot buy your Octagon wins,” Covington said about Askren. “He made all the nerds and virgins believe he was a superstar and this and that but really he was overrated. He had a padded record. He hadn’t fought anybody. He was coming off a knockout loss to Robbie Lawler.
“He finally got exposed in front of the whole world.”
The knockout was the first loss on Askren’s record and he’s made no indication that one setback would deter him from the ultimate goal of winning the UFC welterweight title but Covington believes we’ve already heard the last of him when it comes to relevancy in the division.
“He’s not a virgin anymore cause Jorge just popped his cherry on Saturday night. I can’t go with the virgin thing anymore. Let’s be honest he’s 0-2, CM Punk has spent more time in the Octagon and has two less KO losses than Askren,” Covington said. “We’ve got to write off the 40-year old nerd Askren. He’s out of contention.
“He’s made history. He wanted to make history and be just like me except there’s a different history book for what he’s done. I’m in the history books for being the only UFC fighter to visit the White House. He’s going to be in the history books for being on the wrong end of the fastest knockout in UFC history. He won’t be back. He’ll never be the same again. That kind of knockout, you never recover.”
Putting Askren aside, Covington says he was genuinely happy to see Masvidal get the win even if that means they are now competing for the same title opportunity against reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman next.
Covington has been promised a title shot on several occasions but he believes there is no denying him if he gets past Lawler when they meet on Aug. 3.
As far as potentially facing Masvidal down the road, Covington admits it would be tough pill to swallow to face a friend and teammate but both understood from the beginning that this was a possibility when competing in the same division.
“We’re happy for each other but at the end of the day this is a business and this is a one man sport and we both know that,” Covington said. “We both want the same thing and that’s what I’ve got right now. So if he wants to come get it, he knows what’s ahead of him. He knows in the back of his mind how many countless hours we’ve trained together at American Top Team, fighting in living rooms, we fight every chance we get and we never got paid.
“So a chance to fight for the strap, it’s going to be a seven-figure payday for both of us. We’ll both get up for it. I’ll do what I do best, that’s why I’m the great American winning machine.”
Covington wouldn’t enjoy facing Masvidal but they both understand that only one of them can be champion at the end of the day.
“The thing is to be the man you’ve got to beat the man and I’m the man,” Covington said. “So anybody that wants to come get it, it doesn’t matter if you’re my best friend or my dad, come get it. I’m right here. I’ve got the belt.
“You’ve got to go through me if you want to make a stake and make a claim to be the best welterweight in the world.”