Rafael dos Anjos (28-9-0) is scheduled fight for the interim welterweight title against Colby Covington (13-1-0) at UFC 225 in Chicago. But originally this was planned for UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. RDA believes Conor McGregor’s (21-3-0) attack in Brooklyn, that resulted in the cancellation of three fights, played a primary role in this decision.
I flew to New York to have that fight announced in Rio, but I think it was switched because of that Conor thing. Like, after that incident with the bus and all of that, I think the UFC was kinda afraid. Colby’s been talking a lot of crap about Brazilians and if something happened there, if the security couldn’t hold one guy, how can they hold a Brazilian crowd going crazy because of the stuff that this guy’s been saying?
Because of anti-Brazilian rhetoric, Covington has become a polarizing figure in Brazil. RDA believes the UFC’s desire to avoid another security concern after the incident with McGregor at UFC 223 led to the switch from Rio de Janeiro to Chicago. He said he found out about this decision upon landing in Brooklyn, just hours before the press conference. He admitted that he was disappointed to learn that he wouldn’t be able to compete in his hometown for the first time since 2008.
I have to say yes, I was disappointed a little bit, especially because of the whole story of the thing. Like, he went there, he went to Brazil, went to Sao Paulo, he beat Demian Maia (25-8-0) there, and after he’s talking a lot of crap about the Brazilians. So to have this fight in Rio would be a good story, especially getting the belt there, it would be really cool. But, I think, the one thing, Rio, it’s not Sao Paulo. The crowds in Sao Paulo, it’s different than the crowds in Rio. Rio people are more savage. But I think I’m still going to have the crowd on my side. It’ll be a good opportunity. I think everything happens for a reason, but I think the location, it’s not going to change the result of the fight. It’ll be even better to beat this guy in his own country, having the American crowd on my side.
But was Covington really going to be in danger in Rio de Janeiro? RDA thinks something bad could’ve happened at UFC 224, given how far Covington has taken things:
Some fans, they don’t understand the business. People get offended, you know? They get offended by, some guy comes to your country and curses everybody and talks bad about the whole crowd. People get upset, and I get it. I get it. I understand them.
RDA is confident things won’t be any different in Chicago when it comes to the feelings fight fans hold toward Covington. This “gimmick” appears to be widely dispised.
Not only the Brazilians. Every time I hang out by my house and do my things, my American fans, they always come to me and they always say, “Hey, please shut up that guy. Please shut up that guy. Shut up Colby.” And that’s what I’m going to do.
At the UFC’s press conference in Brooklyn, Covington continued his war of words against RDA and the country of Brazil. RDA said he wasn’t surprised and isn’t affected by Covington’s choice of how to promote himself. However, he did find humor in the contrast between Covington’s on-stage “persona” and the way he carried himself backstage, away from the cameras.
The funny thing is that, backstage, he just stayed looking at his phone. He wasn’t even looking around. That’s how he is. He’s that guy that, when he’s in front of the cameras, he changes. He becomes a different person. But backstage, he just was with his sunglasses, looking at his phone, and not even looking around. So what kind of gangster is that? Gangster that when things got rough, he called police? What kind of people, I don’t get it. So fake. He’s trying to pretend to be something that he’s not. He’s trying to act and he’s being fake, and I can’t wait to expose this guy.
You can check the rest of the UFC 225 card by visiting the official event page.