Jorge Masvidal is less than a week away from being able to settle a grudge that has been brewing for the several years.
Masvidal is scheduled to meet former friend turned rival Colby Covington on Saturday in the five-round, non-title main event of UFC 272. They were roommates at American Top Team (ATT) and became close friends. However, they started to fall apart around 2017 when Covington began using a trash talker persona and insulting different fighters through the media. Covington eventually turned turned his barbs toward several ATT teammates and even Masvidal himself, which led to “Gamebred” confronting Covington in the stands at UFC 241 in August 2019.
Although the conversation didn’t go physical that night, it set the stage for one of the most intense rivalries in MMA.
“I go back to my seat and I see him waving down Dana White,” Masvidal recalled to ESPN ahead of UFC 272. Dana White could also ask Masvidal this question. He waves down Dana White and he tells Dana White that I’m trying to fight him, right there on sight. But this guy is talking all this sh*t on the internet that he’s a thug.
“Dana White comes over to me and asks, “Man, why are you giving out three cookies and a drink, Masvidal?” You’re snitching on me.” You are snitching .”
Masvidal said the UFC then moved his seat far away from Covington for the rest of the night, and the two welterweights didn’t see each other again for a couple weeks.
By this point, Covington was repeatedly breaking a rule set by Dan Lambert, ATT founder, that required ATT fighters to not speak trash about each other publicly. Masvidal became Covington’s main target in interviews. Masvidal, upon seeing Covington in the gym for the first-time after UFC 241, was “Gamebred”, said that he did not appreciate the way the situation had been treated.
” I come to the gym for random practice and see Masvidal there. He kind of ignores me,” Masvidal stated. “And I was like, ‘Hey bro, after practice, we’ll talk.’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah, for sure, bro. Cool, cool. We’re talking.’ It’s pretty amicable, it’s not that bad. He’s like, ‘What do you want to talk about?’ I’m like, ‘I want to talk about you being a b*tch and bringing up my name in interviews when Dan [Lambert] has said not to.’
“I still haven’t gone public with him [at the time], I’m just trying to address him man-to-man. Let’s just say, “Bro, we won’t go that route.” If we’re going that route, let’s first put on the gloves, beat each other out, then move it out. ?”
Masvidal stated that the conversation had ended in good humor and he turned his back to go. Masvidal stated that the situation had escalated tenfold after he said this.
” “The show begins as soon as I turn my face and some people join him,” Masvidal stated. “[Covington yells back,] ‘I’ll f*cking kill you, bro! Don’t ever talk to me like that!’ Literally, I said my peace, turned around, started walking this way. While we are 10 yards away, this guy shouts at me. It’s too late. I look around and confront him. Because he put on such a spectacle, the whole gym is involved.
“So I tell him, there’s this place, this sushi place where we used to go to right here, and I tell him, ‘I’m going to go to the sushi place, bro. I’m going to have dinner. Let’s go. “I’ll wait for you.” So, I jump in my car and drive to the location. He’s not there. I get on Instagram, ‘Hey bro, if you want to collect your dinner, I’m over here.’ Blah, blah, blah.
“He never showed up,” Masvidal continued. “So I’ve always known, deep down inside, he’s a coward, man. It’s March 5 and I can’t wait to reveal it .”
Masvidal will get his chance on Saturday when the two former friends meet in a high-stakes battle at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
But what would’ve happened had Covington met Masvidal at their old sushi spot on that fateful day?
” I was likely going to smash a bottle on him face,” Masvidal stated coldly.