Top-ranked 170-pound contender Colby Covington already had two chances to win the welterweight title but failed both times, thanks to superior performances from then-champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 245 and then again at UFC 268.
Covington (17-3) even got dropped in their second go-round.
But that was before coaches Cesar Carneiro and Daniel Valverde were able to recalibrate the offense of the 35 year-old Covington, who gets his third crack at the crown when he collides with current champion Leon Edwards at UFC 296 in Las Vegas.
“I don’t think it’s going to pass the fourth round,” Carneiro told Sherdog (transcribed by Farah Hannoun). “I think TKO fourth round. Third or fourth-round TKO, Colby. We realized that Colby is not a real southpaw. So, now we know exactly what we have to work with him. Get his cross better, get his orthodox better, and we did. If you look at him now, he’s amazing. He doesn’t drop his hand like before, like a boxer.”
Dropping your hands will leave you susceptible to brain-scrambling kicks (like this one).
“Colby’s hungrier than ever,” Valverde added. “Very hungry still. Colby’s a very famous guy. He’s a successful guy, but he’s still very, very hungry. He still wants this belt so bad.”
Covington’s only knockout win over the last seven years came by way of rib injury when “Chaos” defeated former champion Tyron Woodley at UFC Vegas 11. In addition, Edwards (21-3, 1 NC) has yet to be stopped in 25 professional MMA fights.
For the rest of the UFC 296 fight card and PPV lineup click here.