Tonight’s co-main event between Demian Maia and Colby Covington features to men who are pretty much opposites, when it comes to slinging trash talk.
If you’ve followed Maia over the years, then you know it’s very rare, if ever, that he says something disrespectful about his opponent. Sure, there’s been times when Maia has pointed out holes in an opponent’s game, and that’s likely ruffled some feathers. But, Maia’s big claim to fame is his ridiculously good jiu-jitsu, not hopping on a mic and throwing out insults.
Covington, on the other hand, has been making waves in the welterweight division with his performances in the Octagon, and via his trash talk. The accomplished wrestler has captured headlines due to his four fight winning streak, but also for trashing Tyron Woodley in the media. Then, more recently, he referred to his opponent tonight as “dad-bod” Maia, and Covington also called the host city of Sao Paulo, a “dump”.
Well, recently Maia was asked to comment on Covington’s trash talk, and the Brazilian star had this to say (quote via MMA Junkie):
“I really don’t follow (his trash talk), especially this close to the fight,” Maia said. “My approach has never been being like that. For me, it doesn’t matter. My experience says don’t worry about that and don’t follow and don’t feed that. For me, the fight’s more strategy – it’s not emotion. And I know he’s probably doing that because for him, the fight’s emotional. He needs to put this burning on his soul. For me, it works different and that’s the way that I am.”
This is one of the reasons Maia is so respected throughout the game and by many fans. But, there’s no question that self promotion and verbal warfare can go a long way in MMA, whether you like trash talk or not.
All this aside, tonight’s bout is a huge one for the 39 year-old Maia. If he halt the rise of Covington, then he’ll remain in the title shot mix. But if he loses, at this stage of his career, returning to title contention could be tough. If Covington wins, on the other hand, then he’ll likely be one win away from a championship fight.