Colby Covington To Start His Own Path Away From American Top Team
In order to build himself up, Colby Covington had to tear down the foundations that were his relationship with American Top Team. “Chaos” has officially left ATT, according to an interview he did with theScore.
“I’m not a member of the American Top Team gym in Coconut Creek. I’m a member of Colby Covington Incorporated,” Covington stated, via BJPenn.com. I’m a member of Colby Covington business, Colby Covington team. Everything. This is my team now. You can direct your complaints at me.”
Starting his professional MMA career at ATT in 2011, Covington (15-2) proved to be a valuable commodity. He was 5-0 before joining the UFC. Making his UFC debut in 2014, the two-time Pac-10 wrestling champion beat Anying Wang via submission. Following his first loss in his third UFC fight, Covington won seven in a row.
During that time, he gained a persona that was a trash-talker and insulted every person he could get his hands on. Using a narrative many weren’t a fan of, Covington made enemies with fans and fighters. ATT’s Dan Lambert encouraged Covington’s behavior at first, and Covington had nothing but praise for him.
“I respect [ATT owner] Dan Lambert more than anybody in the world,” Covington continued. “That guy will have my respect until the day I die. I owe that guy everything. He gave me an opportunity ten years, nine years ago, out of college, to come train at his gym, American Top Team, full-time, and have food money and a place to live. He never left me out in the cold.”
Although Lambert was his biggest supporter, Covington was not liked by members Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jorge Masvidal. That resulted in Lambert enforcing a rule that unless ATT members were fighting one another, no trash-talking was allowed. Covington never listened to the rules, but always managed to come through for them.
The 32-year-old beat Rafael dos Anjos for the interim Welterweight Title and got to see President Trump at the White House. Even though he lost the title, Covington easily beat Robbie Lawler to earn a shot at the UFC Welterweight Title. Facing Kamaru Usman at UFC 245, Covington went five rounds in a back and forth affair. Seemingly breaking his jaw, Covington lost via TKO.
Now on his own, Covington will look to start again against some of the top welterweight fighters who want a piece of him. As far as ATT goes, MMA Fighting is reporting that he stopped training there months ago. With the gym shut down due to the coronavirus, it was time for him to leave for good. Still, Covington doesn’t see it as a malicious move, just one he believes he needed to make.
“There’s no ill will or hard feelings toward American Top Team or Dan Lambert,” said Covington. “It’s just a business decision and nothing more.”