Before it was Covington vs. Masvidal, it was Covington and Masvidal. Best friends. Training Partners. Roommates. The pair were always side-by-side, just like brothers. Until things changed.
It was an epic ending of brotherhood, and a fight between the two has long been brewing.
The Story of Covington vs. Masvidal
It was said they were friends almost instantaneously upon Colby Covington joining ATT.
“Pretty much from day one,” ATT head coach Dan Lambert said in an interview with ESPN, talking about Covington’s and Masvidal’s friendship. “They just somehow or another were attracted to another. Maybe opposites attract. They struck up a friendship pretty quick. Jorge (Masvidal) took him under his wing, Jorge was already a veteran (at that time). I guess they realized that Colby could up Jorge’s wrestling and Jorge could up Colby’s striking.”
The two were almost attached at the hip according to people: living together, training together, and partying together. They sparred almost constantly and truly plotted on taking over the MMA world according to Dan Lambert.
Back in the day, before the Covington vs. Masvidal beef, “Chaos” was very subtle and soft-spoken. “Colby was a little bit of a problem for the UFC, kind of like that Jon Fitch issue,” Lambert told ESPN’s, Marc Raimondi.
“He’s a guy that’s going to beat just about everybody. But his style wasn’t very exciting at the time. Case and point: he was fighting ‘stun gun’ in Singapore, who was obviously a favorite of the crowd. He (Covington) went out and basically, 30-26’d him. Blanketed him… the crowd was booing the whole time… After the fight, Sean (Shelby) came up to me and basically said: ‘hey man, he’s got one fight left on his contract. He’s beaten guys we wanna promote, and the fans aren’t getting into him. So if you wanna start looking for something else (for Colby) to do, go ahead. Because we aren’t gonna re-sign him.”
Few would probably know, but this conversation would prove to be the direct catalyst for one of MMA’s most controversial personas. Kindling the fiery inferno that is Covington vs. Masvidal.
The Birth of Chaos, and Burning of Bridges
With the threat of the end of his UFC career in mind, Covington knew he had to change. The fans thought he was so boring that he was going to get cut. So he spiced things up a bit…
After defeating Demian Maia in Brazil in 2017, “Chaos” took the mic and changed his career forever.
“I should’ve knocked him (Demian Maia) out. Brazil, you’re a dump, all you filthy animals suck!” Covington screamed, before calling out the welterweight champion of the time: Tyron Woodley.
And thus was the beginning of the end for friendship and the origin of Covington vs. Masvidal. The two wouldn’t start beefing immediately, but the more promos “Chaos” cut, the more strained the relationship got.
Covington vs. Masvidal Intensifies
Then, it was the burning of the bridge entirely. According to “Gamebred”, Covington failed to pay his gym fees to Dan Lambert. From there, it wouldn’t even be accurate to say things spiraled: they nose-dived.
Suddenly, Colby Covington was on every media platform imaginable talking trash about Jorge Masvidal, ATT, and its fighters. Gradually, “Chaos” managed to get almost every major fighter out of ATT to literally despise him. Including names like Masvidal (of course), Dustin Poirier, Amanda Nunes, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Unsurprisingly, Colby Covington would soon get banned from the gym entirely. This pretty much brings us full circle, as from there we’ve been stuck in a perpetual back-and-forth between the two over the media.
Covington brings up personal facts and admittedly funny nicknames. While every time Masvidal gets asked about him you can see “Gamebred” physically tense while he speaks about his dream of viciously knocking “Chaos” out or inflicting some other gruesome type of damage. In the same way that someone dying of thirst would ask for a glass of water; as if he wants it more than anything else in the world.
Now, fans get to see this bitter saga of friendship turned foes come to fruition. Who will be left standing between Covington vs Masvidal? Tune into UFC 272 to find out!