After the two recently met and posed for a group photo together during a campaign rally in Las Vegas for President Donald Trump, Covington made some remarks that clearly irked Gaethje.
Covington took aim at Gaethje’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, and following his win over Tyron Woodley at UFC on ESPN+ 36 got involved in a heated exchange with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in the post-fight interview.
Gaethje, who says he initially had a good impression of Covington, had a change of heart, trashing the former interim welterweight champion for being two-faced.
“I was singing his praises because of how professional he was and how he held himself,” Gaethje told MMA Junkie during a Thursday UFC 254 conference call with media members. “But then he went on to do a bunch of interviews, and I probably despise that man more than anybody on planet Earth –other than like child pedophiles and murderers and things like that.
“He is a coward; he’s a fake person. He stands there and acts like this soft-hearted dude, and then he gets behind the camera and he’s a total coward and a fake person. I’ve never met someone as fake as Colby Covington, and as a man, I would love to slap him right across the face.”
Interim lightweight titleholder Gaethje will attempt to unify the UFC belts with lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in the main event of UFC 254, which takes place Oct. 24 at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.