UFC’s Colby Covington eyes WWE career after retirement

Colby Covington reclaimed his spot this weekend as the No. 1 ranked welterweight in the UFC, beating Jorge Masvidal by unanimous decision in a dominating performance at UFC 272.

After losing two of his last three fights, with both blemishes suffered against welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, the win was an emphatic statement for Covington. Covington and Masvidal’s backstory helped drive the fight, as the former best friends and teammates pulled a page from pro wrestling history to sell their fight. That makes sense considering Covington has long had an affinity for pro wrestling. Eventually, he would even like to land in the WWE once his career in the Octagon is over.

“I would love to cross over and get into WWE,” says Covington, 34. “But I love being a UFC fighter. I love fighting; it’s my passion and what I was born and put on this earth for. Once my UFC career is over, WWE is something I would love to get into.

A plethora of fighters have transitioned from MMA to professional wrestling, including Ken Shamrock, Matt Riddle, “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, Shayna Baszler and Josh Barnett. Former UFC star Paige VanZant just signed with AEW. Perhaps the most famous is MMA pioneer Ronda Rousey, who is the headliner for this year’s first night. WrestleMania in a match against Charlotte Flair.

“Ronda Rousey really impressed me [in WWE]says Covington. “His promotional game has gone strong. She’s just a real artist. She knows how to put on a show for a crowd.

“She’s the baddest woman in combat sports. Look at her track record, she’s a trailblazer. The things she’s done in the UFC are unparalleled. I’m a huge fan of Ronda Rousey and I love the way she competes. I think she’s going to be the best wrestler in WWE for a long time.

Covington is already entering the UFC octagon to the same music Kurt Angle used in WWE, allowing the crowd to shout the “You Suck!” words as he struts down the aisle. Although not an Olympic gold medalist like Angle, Covington was a decorated collegiate wrestler at Oregon State. And he even has some pro wrestling experience, having had a brief five-year foray into Impact Wrestling as part of the angle with Dan Lambert’s American Top Team.

But professional wrestling is more than just a show. It’s a lifestyle. If Covington is truly serious about making the transition to professional wrestling, he will quickly learn that it involves an entirely different set of circumstances than those found in mixed martial arts. Two-time WWE Champion Drew McIntyre echoed that view, sharing that the biggest challenges come outside of the ring.

“It’s harder than it looks,” says McIntyre, who has been wrestling around the world for 21 years. “That’s the one thing I hear from every top athlete, whether it’s someone in MMA, an Olympian, All-Americans, or football players. The aspect physical is important, but so is the mental element.

“It’s 52 weeks a year. Live Events. Life on the road. It’s a real commitment, which not everyone is ready to make.

Full of bravado – and true to character – Covington expressed no concerns that he could handle life between the ropes.

“I am ‘Chaos.’ I’m unpredictable, so you’ll never know where I’ll end up next,” Covington says. “I feel like the baddest man on the planet, so you might see me in WWE one day. .”

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Justin Barrasso can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @justin barrasso.