Colby Covington has proven himself a man who will say almost anything in the interest of building a fight -- and his own carefully created character. In the lead up to his massive UFC 245 showdown with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, Covington has dredged up the memory of a coach who has died and accused the champ of using performance enhancing drugs. Usman, for his part, is dismissing the talk from the challenger.
Covington's shots at Usman for PED use were specific to claims the champ had used EPO, a substance claimed to significantly increase endurance in athletes, most famously used by cyclist Lance Armstrong. Usman addressed the allegations while speaking with MMA Fighting.
"He kept saying that, and I'm like what is that?" Usman said. "I didn't know what that was, and then somebody explained to me what it was. I haven't changed since the first moment I came to the UFC. I haven't changed from my first professional fight to my last fight.
"I look the exact same because I put in the exact same amount of work each and every time. The only thing that changes are my skills, and that comes with the time spent honing my craft."
Covington has recently been in the news for claiming the UFC was ready to release him from his contract before he embraced a more exciting in-cage style and a more controversial personality. While there's no denying the effectiveness of his more aggressive style, one needs only look to his record-breaking offensive output in a one-sided beating of Robbie Lawler earlier this year. The decision to become an outspoken Trump-loving, trash-talking "bad guy" has rubbed many the wrong way.
To Usman, it's simply a product of the modern UFC, where men can be rewarded with opportunities for simply getting talked about.
"That's the M.O. of the sport, that's kind of where we're at in the sport nowadays," Usman said. "To where it's just, 'I need attention however I can get it,' so that's what guys care about now. I just need attention where I can get it, so I don't care about how I get it. The way they see it is, 'I'd rather have a bad name than no name.'"
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