It was UFC 268 fight week last November, and the promotion’s president, Dana White, was in Brooklyn’s  NYC Cops & Kids Boxing Club to visit the young people who were finding their escape in the sweet science. 

One of those young people stood out among the rest, not just because of his stature in the world of pro boxing, but because of the black cowboy hat. Yeah, stars carry themselves a different way, and if you didn’t know it by his perfect 16-0 record, you could tell Chris Colbert had that “it” factor.

But the 25-year-old wasn’t surrounded by an entourage, trying to battle White and UFC middleweight contender Uriah Hall for attention. He was one of the people in his backyard, another reason to think that sometime soon, the rest of the world will know who Colbert is.

As for the fighter, he’s impatient for that day to come.

“This is what I’ve been waiting for. There’s no better time than right now. This is my time and I’m going to dominate in this fight.”

“This fight” was supposed to pit Colbert, a former interim WBA junior lightweight champion, against Roger Gutierrez for the “real” WBA belt, but COVID-19 scrapped that contest, prompting former Dominican Olympian Hector Luis Garcia to step in for a Saturday bout in Las Vegas. The winner gets Gutierrez next, and you know who Colbert believes that will be, even if he’s not too concerned that the belt isn’t on the line this weekend.

 “I don’t fight for the belts,” he said. “I fight for the money and my legacy. I still have a job to do next Saturday. I’m still getting paid. After I win, I get to fight again soon for the belt and get paid again for that fight.”

A meeting with battle-tested Venezuelan Gutierrez would have been nice to not just put Colbert in position to win a world title, but to see where he stands in the great scheme of things in a division where Oscar Valdez and Shakur Stevenson will be garnering the bulk of headlines this year. 

“When I win this fight, I’m that guy,” he said before Gutierrez withdrew from the bout. “ I’ve told you forever that I’m that guy. I was born that guy. I’m just going to continue to prove that and whatever comes next, comes next.”

Instead, becoming “that guy” will take a little longer, at least when it comes to having the bargaining power that comes with a world title belt. Not that he isn’t used to waiting, as 2019 and 2020 campaigns that put him on the international map turned into a disappointing 2021 where his only fight was a July victory over “King Tug” Nyambayar. Colbert can make some noise, though, if he decides to make his return an opportunity to make an example out of the 30-year-old Garcia, a hard-hitting southpaw with a 14-0 record built against a questionable level of competition. And that seems to be the idea.

“He’s going to learn firsthand how dangerous I am,” Colbert said. “I’m not worried about anything he brings to the ring. I love when people think that power is going to save them against me.”

The six knockouts in 16 victories won’t exactly frighten anybody away, but there is Colbert’s one-punch, first-round finish of Miguel Beltran in 2019, and he closed the show in style in halting Jaime Arboleda in the 11th round in 2020, so he has some pop, and with his unorthodox attack, nothing is off the table when it comes to “Primetime,” who was unbothered by the late switch in opponents.

“I don’t really know anything about Garcia,” he said. “I know he’s got two arms and two legs, and beyond that, I expect him to bring his A-game, because he has to against me. There’s no way that I’m letting him come in as a late replacement and beat me.

“I’m all about making adjustments,” continued Colbert, who did most of his camp in Miami with Aureliano Sosa and Herman Caicedo before finishing up his prep in Brooklyn.  “I’ve had opponent replacements happen before, and I know this is part of the business of boxing. I just have to roll with the punches, make lemonade out of these lemons and do what I do on February 26.”

Lemonade in Las Vegas and cowboy hats in Brooklyn. You get the impression that it’s a good time to be Chris Colbert. He’s got the main event spotlight on Showtime, a title fight awaits him with a win, and then after that the sky’s the limit. All he has to do now is win.

“I don’t have to live up to the ‘Primetime’ name, that’s just me,” he said. “That’s who I am. People know who I am. I just have a job to do and I’m going to do it.”