With Darren Till booked for a title shot, and Covington uninterested in a fight, “The Nigerian Nightmare” claimed that Rafael dos Anjos is the only fight that makes sense for him should he not be called into action on Sept. 8, where he serves as backup to the main event title fight.
“If I do fight anybody, besides winning the title on Sept. 8, it will be RDA. That’s really the only fight that makes sense. He just fought for an interim title, that’s the fight that puts me right there,” Usman told Luke Thomas on the latest episode of The MMA Hour.
“I’m not getting Till, which I wanted. Covington, four times I’ve been offered that fight. He’s declined each and every one — I’m not getting that fight. The only guy left to put me right there is RDA.”
Usman went on to say that Covington is the only fighter he bears a grudge against due to all the failed attempts to get a fight with him.
“Four times I’ve been offered that fight and he said no. They tried to make that fight again for Nov. 30th. They offered me the fight and I said, ‘Absolutely, I will wait for that fight’. They actually offered me RDA for that main event in Brazil that Glover [Teixeira] and Jimi Manuwa just got announced on. I said, ‘Yes, I’m ready, I’ll take the fight’, but he said he was dealing with something…he turned it down or he wasn’t ready to fight,” Usman said.
“If they had have offered me Covington on Nov. 30th, I would’ve said, ‘Absolutely’. That’s the one guy that I really have malicious intent to hurt inside that cage. Of course, they did offer me that and I did jump on that, but then [Covington] went to the White House and came back and was like, ‘I don’t want that fight’.”
As far as Usman is concerned, Covington’s unwillingness to take a fight could come back to haunt him if Woodley and Till are sidelined after their meeting on Sept. 8.
“[Covington] talked for a long time about how he wanted a title fight. But then they give him a title fight — Sept. 8 that’s your event — but he comes out and says he’s not ready. You’re not the champ, you’re the interim guy. You’re just a placeholder. The champ is ready to go. He gave you an opportunity and you turned it down, so they went with the next guy, they went with Darren Till.
“Now you have to sit and wait. God forbid, if something happens to the guys that have to fight on Sept. 8 and they have to be out for a while. What does that mean? You’re not going to fight forever until they’re ready? You said you’d be ready in November, [the UFC] offered me the fight in November. I accepted and he says no — once again for the fourth time.”