Jorge Masvidal says his animosity towards Colby Covington will never end, no matter what happens when the two meet finally in the octagon this weekend.
The former friends and teammates, whom in the past cornered one another and even roomed together, face off in the headline bout at UFC 272 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas early on Sunday morning UAE time.
The heated rivalry has played out in public for years after Covington left American Top Team because of what Masvidal claims was an unfulfilled payment from Covington to his coach.
Covington, the No 1-ranked contender at welterweight, is seeking to rebound from his defeat in the rematch with champion Kamaru Usman in November. Afterwards, the American told Usman that the weeks and months of trash talk had all been purely to sell the fight.
Asked at Wednesday’s media day if he would be willing to accept a similar olive branch following UFC 272, Masvidal told reporters: “He would never dare [shake my hand]. He wouldn’t get close to me in any circumference or anything like that. He wouldn’t put himself at a chance where I can end his [expletive] again, especially because he’s talked about my kids.
“My kids don’t do a pay-per-view sell. People don’t go, ‘Oh he’s talking about his kids. I’m going to tune in now.’ He talked about Usman’s dad, calling him all type of things, and Usman’s [mother] – and then you’re going to say, ‘It’s business. I’m just selling pay-per-view. I love you, bro.’
“He had said for months that he wouldn’t shake this man’s hand. That shows how much of a coward he is and what a snake he is. He’ll say whatever and whenever and then, when the light is on him, when it’s time to be man, he does what he does.”
Masvidal added: “I can’t respect him in any way, shape, or form. Kind of like [former opponent] Ben Askren. I don’t care for Ben Askren. If Ben Askren were at a place and he said something to me, we can either fight or not. If he’s cool, I’m cool.
“But with Colby, it will always be for as long as we live. We’ll always have a problem just because he mentioned my religion and kids.”
Masvidal, who in his most recent bout also lost a rematch with Usman - April last year - believes a victory on Sunday would thrust him straight back into the title picture. The division’s No 6-ranked challenger has lost his past two fights, both to Usman, with the first during the inaugural Fight Island in Abu Dhabi in July 2020.
“With my victories, it will put me as a No 1 contender and I’ll be competing for the title shortly after, so that’s definitely a plus,” Masvidal said. “But as far as having beaten great fighters, I won’t even talk to my grandkids about this guy.
“It would just be some personal stuff; I beat some dude I really didn’t like and that’s it. But as far as accomplishments, he won’t rank in there. I don’t like his style and how he fights. I’m going to make it look really easy come Saturday night.
“I’ve got a very similar plan for Colby [to his five-second flying knee KO of Askren in 2019]. It starts violent and it ends even more violent.”
Meanwhile, speaking at the same media day, Covington said he had turned down the opportunity to receive part of the cut on the event's pay-per-view sales, adding: “This is just a personal rivalry, this isn’t about the money.
"I didn’t come here to fight for money. I took a pay cut; I didn’t care about the money for this fight. This is about settling a blood rivalry.
“This has been a long time coming. This guy is holding it off as long as he could until he had no chance or no other opportunities. This is the biggest opportunity he could get to pay his alimony and to pay his child support. So, of course, he had to come take his losing pay-cheque.”