We finally witnessed a real UFC press conference after months of mediocrity. The only way it could have been better would have been if Ian Garry hadn't bailed on the event due to pneumonia. Here is everything that happened during the UFC 296 press conference.
Edwards vs Covington Press Conference: Which Fighters Made an Appearance?
If you are a long-time UFC fan, you would know about the press conferences of the old days when fighters were unhinged and making a show out of every appearance. We haven't seen much of that lately. Perhaps it is because there are fewer showmen in the promotion, perhaps it is because times have simply changed. But this was a true old-school press conference.
Luckily, people like Tony Ferguson and Colby Covington are still fighting and they know how to make a show. A total of eight fighters made an appearance – Leon Edwards, Colby Covington, Alexandre Pantoja, Brandon Royval, Shavkat Rakhmonov, Stephen Thompson, Tony Ferguson, and Paddy Pimblett.
Of course, Ian Machado Garry and Vicente Luque were also supposed to be on the stage but their bout has been canceled. Ian Garry apparently has pneumonia and cannot fight this week.
— UFC (@ufc) December 15, 2023
UFC 296 Press Conference: Here's How It All Went Down
Colby Covington came out dressed in a costume and a Donald Trump hat which immediately led to Leon Edwards calling him a drag queen. Colby retaliated by asking him if he even graduated from elementary school. He followed that with a dirty comment about Ian Garry's wife, which we will not transcribe here.
Colby continued with the banter but towards Stephen Thompson – his literal words were “I'm not saying he is a pedophile but man, he checks all the boxes”. He, of course, is talking about the fact that Stephen Thompson is known for training youngsters.
Ferguson received a question if this fight was personal for him and he said no but also that someone has to teach Paddy a lesson. He was also asked if he would unblock Paddy on Instagram after the match.
Immediately after, Colby was asked about the fight between Rakhmonov vs Thompson. He said that he didn't care about the prelims and he is the star of the show and everyone came to see him. Tony Ferguson responded that he is “more American” than Colby, which led to a minute of dirty exchanges between them.
— UFC (@ufc) December 15, 2023
Тhings got heated when Colby Covington made a comment about Leon's dead father. This made Edwards throw his bottle at Colby and security had to intervene to stop them from starting a fight on the stage.
Overall, all interesting moments from the UFC 296 press conference came from Edwards and Covington, with a pinch of Tony Ferguson and Paddy Pimblett trash-talking on the side. All other fighters were asked the usual questions and all the answers were straightforward and respectful.
We definitely expected more passion and action during the staredowns after the final question but security made sure that Leon and Colby remained separated. Nevertheless, you really have to go back and watch that press conference, it was a fun one for a change.