Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley seem to have vastly different recollections of the times they trained together in the past.
While it’s been several years since the two fighters shared a mat at American Top Team together, those training sessions have become a hot topic of conversation now that Covington is set to face Woodley to unify the UFC welterweight title later this year.
Long before he was the interim champion, Covington touted how he used to beat Woodley in sparring and that was a major part of the reason why he couldn’t wait to face him in the UFC with the welterweight title on the line.
More recently, Woodley has fired back by saying he “tortured” Covington in training, while calling him lazy and claiming that he never won a “millisecond of a round” when they were training together.
Obviously, Covington has a much different memory of those training sessions, as he recounted when asked after his win at UFC 225 in Chicago.
“This was three years ago in 2015 when I wasn’t even half the fighter I am now. I’m a completely different fighter now. I’m younger and I’ve only gotten better. He’s older and he’s living up his Hollywood gimmick, so he’s a lot dumber. Those training sessions were pretty easy for me,” Covington told MMAWeekly. “The first round, just put a pace on him — that porn star pace with all my chicks in the bedroom that I’m keeping every night — I’d take that first round and put a lot of pressure on him. Put him inside the clinch just walk him down and make him fight. Literally, all he has is a right hand. He’s so predictable.
“By the second round he was so winded he say, ‘I’m not doing anymore.’ We were supposed to do five rounds and he said, ‘nope, I’m done today.’ He doesn’t have anything. He has a lot of muscles and it takes a lot of oxygen to feed those muscles. He’s an easy match for me. My pace will just melt him. That’s why [Rafael dos Anjos] was my toughest fight, because he has very good cardio and he’s very well rounded. RDA’s the second best fighter in the welterweight division behind me, cause I’m the best. Tyron Woodley is probably third or fourth. It’s going to be an easy fight when I finally get my hands on Tyron Woodley.”
To his credit, Covington was an NCAA All-American wrestler at Oregon State at the Division I level and was also a junior college national champion at Iowa Central Community College, where he wrestled alongside future UFC champion Jon Jones.
“We wrestled every Monday in practice. It was easy. He has no cardio. He has no gas. I would shoot a takedown and I’d take him down any time I wanted to take him down. Any time I didn’t take him down, I’d get him in the scramble and he was done after the scramble. He had nothing left after the scramble. He had nothing left to give,” Covington claimed. “He hated wrestling me. We wrestled like two or three practices in a row and he was done. He was like, ‘I’m going to go train with some amateurs’ or some other guys that didn’t know how to wrestle.
“He doesn’t want to wrestle me. He knows my pace and my wrestling. He knows what’s up. Seven-minute wrestling matches, he used to get melted. Wait until he has to go 25 minutes with me. He won’t last three rounds.”
Those training sessions have seemingly given both fighters a lot of confidence leading into their showdown later this year.
While it’s not likely anyone from American Top Team will be releasing any videos to back up a claim from either fighter, Covington is confident that what he did in the gym will eventually translate into their title fight.
“I’ve already melted him at the gym at American Top Team multiple times in sparring. That’s the reason we lost our friendship, cause I beat him up so bad the last time we trained together,” Covington said.
“The little Hollywood soy boy, I’m not going to be happy until me and Tyron Woodley meet face to face and we’re actually fighting. Until then, everything he says is fake news.”