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Ever confident about his future in the UFC welterweight division, Colby Covington believes his title shot is right around the corner.

Covington (12-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) is days away from a co-headliner against two-time UFC title challenger Demian Maia (25-7 MMA, 19-7 UFC), a fight that could take his career to the next level or reveal his ceiling at 170 pounds.

But already the 29-year-old has a nickname for his date – and expected win – at UFC Fight Night 119: “The Nightmare in Sao Paulo.”

“Then Tyron Woodley is next, and five-round fights are going to favor me,” Covington told MMAjunkie Radio in advance of his FS1-televised fight on Oct. 28 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “I’ve only hit Gear 1. Wait until I hit Gear 2 and 3 against Tyron. Man, you’re about to see a new Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington.”

Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC), who defended his belt in July with a lackluster decision over Maia, is targeting the winner of a middleweight title fight between ex-welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre and middleweight titleholder Michael Bisping at UFC 217. Specifically, he wants a fight with St-Pierre, who was once targeted for the winner of his fight with Maia before UFC President Dana White changed his mind and booked St-Pierre vs. Bisping.

White, meanwhile, has already tabbed the winner of an upcoming headliner between ex-welterweight champ Robbie Lawler (28-11 MMA, 13-5 UFC) and ex-lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC) as the next contender to the belt.

But Covington, the No. 9 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings, never shies away from bold proclamations. Although he faces the unenviable task of muscling aside established contenders – and new ones – his only desire is to get the title shot against Woodley or otherwise.

“It doesn’t matter who it is,” Covington said. “There’s one singular goal and one singular focus, and that’s the world title. I do feel I have the skill set to hold the welterweight title for a long time. Whoever the champion is at the time, that’s who I want.”

Undeterred by the odds of getting the UFC to grant him No. 1 contender statsus, Covington said he’ll keep pushing until the UFC gives him what he wants.

“I live in the gym right now,” he said. “I’m actually staying at the dorms at American Top Team. I’m eating, living and breathing MMA. I have no girlfriend. I have no distractions in my life. All I do is I come downstars and I train. I go upstairs, I eat, I get on social media, and I promote myself.

“I’m letting the UFC know I don’t need them to promote me, but I want the big fights.”

He’s got one now, of course, facing off with Maia. The 39-year-old Brazilian fell short in a bid for the title, but many up-and-coming contenders have found him too steep a challenge to overcome. Those eager to take him out of his comfort zone on the mat have found themselves tapping out.

Predictably, though, Covington thinks the fight will be a walk in the park.

“I feel like his game has been the same since the beginning,” Covington said of Maia. “He’s very one dimensional. He just goes forward, he’s looking for takedowns, and he’s looking to get it to the ground and get a submission. He’s an old dog – he hasn’t learned any new tricks. It’s going to be the same Demian Maia. We’re not going to see any surprises.

“I’m going to expose him for that.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 119, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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