Pantoja on Covington: "Chaos" Isn't Welcome in ATT

Alexandre Pantoja will be on Edwards' side at the UFC 296 event

by Sededin Dedovic
Pantoja on Covington: "Chaos" Isn't Welcome in ATT
© Steve Marcus / Getty Images

The T-Mobile Arena in Vegas is set to explode on Dec. 16 with UFC 296, headlined by a light heavyweight title bout between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington. But before the main event fireworks, flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja has his own title defense to deal with.

Ahead of his fight, Pantoja took some time to share his thoughts on the highly anticipated light heavyweight clash. In particular, he shed light on his relationship with Covington, his former American Top Team (ATT) teammate.

They parted ways due to Covington's well-documented feud with other ATT members such as Jorge Masvidal and Dustin Poirier. As Pantoja says, "Chaos" isn't exactly welcome in a Florida gym.

Covington is not welcome in ATT

"Everybody out there wants to kill him," Pantoja revealed on the MMA Fighting podcast.

But he also acknowledges the theatrics behind Covington's persona. "I don't really care," he admitted, "I know everything he says is pure marketing." Pantoja's personal relationship with ATT boxing trainer Gabriel de Oliveira, who clearly earned Covington's respect, adds another layer to this dynamic.

"You earn points from me if you treat someone I'm good with," Pantoja said. Although he previously showed little respect for Covington due to his relationship with Oliveira, Pantoja's stance seems to have hardened. He admitted, "I relate more to Edwards because of his life story and all that he has accomplished." Ultimately, Pantoja's loyalty lies with Edwards.

"Edwards is definitely someone I would shake hands with, wish him a good fight and tell him I'm a big fan of his work," he said. As for Covington? "I won't tell him anything." With the flyweight title on the line and the light heavyweight division buzzing with anticipation, UFC 296 promises to be a night to remember.

Whether Pantoja can retain his belt and which welterweight will emerge victorious, one thing is for sure – the drama inside and outside the Octagon is guaranteed to be high.