For much of the last few years, it’s fair to say that Colby Covington hasn’t been a fan favorite among UFC spectators. Chaos, as he is nicknamed, made his debut for the Nevada-based organization back in August 2014, when he defeated Anying Wang by TKO. While the 32-year-old has himself admitted that he isn’t playing a character, many believe that Covington has mastered the art of promotion. His brash attitude and one-line insults do raise the odd smile here and there, but as a world-class athlete, there’s an argument that his fighting should do the talking for him. So, let’s consider whether he needs to be the company’s villain?
A Divisive Persona
In recent times, Covington has formed something of a friendship with the current US President, Donald Trump, in enhancing his America-loving perception. The former interim 170-pound champion took his belt to the White House after beating Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 225. Because of that, Chaos will be one of many Americans keeping an eye on the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election, particularly given his relationship with the Trump family. As of October 22nd, Trump is 7/4 to be re-elected on November 3rd with Paddy Power’s odds on the US election 2020, while Joe Biden is priced at 4/9.
Following his victory over Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 119, Covington ran with his infamous “filthy animals” speech that he believed saved his UFC career, as per MMA Junkie. The entertainment-friendly side of the 32-year-old’s approach was the catalyst in him rising through the ranks in the welterweight division. Although he isn’t loved by spectators, his abrasive personality ensures that people continue to tune into his fights in the hope of seeing him lose.
Is He Actually the UFC’s Anti-Hero?
Although Covington will likely never become a fan favorite, there’s an argument to be made that he’s the anti-hero that the company have been lacking. Between 2013 and 2016, the UFC had an abundance of stars at their disposal, including Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, and Ronda Rousey. However, since October 2018, Diaz and McGregor have fought a combined four times between them, while Rousey walked away from the sport after suffering back-to-back losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes.
While the company have had go-to stars to turn to, such as Khabib Nurmagomedov, who faces Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 254, Covington has a likeness to McGregor in relation to his use of the microphone. That, combined with his all-action fight style makes him one of the UFC’s most entertaining fighters, albeit if it’s occasionally for the wrong reasons. In an industry that’s centered around combat and martial arts, controversy only adds to the anticipation of upcoming events, thus enhancing the prospect of record-breaking pay-per-view sales.
Needing Different Characters for Entertainment Purposes
As mentioned above, it’s unlikely that Covington will ever be respected similarly to Daniel Cormier, Nurmagomedov, and Stipe Miocic, for example. However, that doesn’t mean that his contributions are any less important. Without personality differences and thought-provoking actions, then the fight game would perhaps lose its edge.