UFC interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje went off on Colby Covington Thursday.
Gaethje met Covington at U.S. President Donald Trump's rally in Nevada last month. They stood beside each other during a group photo, and Covington even put his hand on Gaethje's shoulder.
Gaethje said he had respect for Covington after that day. But two weeks later, his opinion of the controversial welterweight contender has completely reversed.
"The day I met him, I was singing his praises because of how professional he was and how he held himself," Gaethje told reporters, according to TSN's Aaron Bronsteter. "But then he went on to do a bunch of interviews.
"I probably despise that man more than anybody on planet Earth, other than child pedophiles and murderers and things like that. He is a coward, he is a fake person. He stands there and acts like this soft-hearted dude, and then he gets behind a camera and is a total coward and a fake person. I've never met someone as fake as Colby Covington."
After Covington beat Tyron Woodley in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Sept. 19, the former interim champion called the Black Lives Matter movement "a complete sham" while also associating it with terrorism.
Covington also made a racist remark during a heated conversation with 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman. "Chaos" has since denied that his comments were racist and said the backlash he's received "was not warranted."
Though Gaethje and Covington compete in different weight classes, Gaethje said he would like to teach Covington a lesson outside of the Octagon.
"As a man, I would love to slap him right across the face," Gaethje said.
Gaethje is scheduled to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title at UFC 254 on Oct. 24 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.