Covington was recently passed over by the UFC in favor of Usman, who is now slated to challenge welterweight champion Tyron Woodley on March 2 in the co-main event of UFC 235. Given his status as interim welterweight champion, Covington was understandably irate at the decision — in an explosive interview on Monday, he called the UFC selecting Usman over him “a big f*ck you to the fans” and essentially dared UFC president Dana White to cut him from the promotion. He also didn’t mince words when asked for his thoughts on who would win the UFC’s unexpected new welterweight title pairing.
“Woodley, for sure,” Covington said Monday on The MMA Hour. “Usman’s a scrub, man. He’s not relevant. No one cares about him. People don’t want to see him fight. He hasn’t even beaten a guy in the top 10 that’s coming off a win yet. The guy’s beaten two guys that are shells of their former selves (Demian Maia and Rafael dos Anjos) because I left those guys in cold blood. I retired those guys. Those guys, I took their souls. They don’t want to fight no more, they’re done. After they lost to me, they hung it up. They’re like, ‘I’m done. I’m just going to take a couple checks and ride off into the sunset.’
“So, it’s not going to be competitive. Woodley’s going to run through him, and then we’ll see what happens next.”
For Covington, what was supposed to happen next is the same title shot against Woodley that was ultimately awarded to Usman.
Covington captured the interim welterweight strap in June with a decision victory over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 225. From there, a title unification bout appeared to be the logical next step, especially given how fiery the rivalry between Covington and Woodley had grown to be. However, Covington said the UFC skipped over him, in part, because of his inability to accept a fight against Woodley at UFC 228 after undergoing nose surgery to correct a deviated septum and chronic sinusitis. Covington said he was subsequently healthy and prepared to fight Woodley at UFC 230 and UFC 233, however the opportunity never came.
“All of a sudden just one day everything was swept from under my feet without any notice. They didn’t give me any heads up,” Covington said. “They just pretty much screwed me, plain and simple. And really, they’re not just screwing me, they’re screwing their fans, man. All their hardcore fans who have been buying their products since Matt Hughes fought Sean Sherk back who-knows-when, when they sold 40,000 products (pay-per-views). All those fans who have built this company, who have helped it rise to the $4 billion company that it is today, they’re shitting on all of those fans. They’re shitting on the rankings. They’re shitting on everything and it’s just not fair, but it is what it is. That’s just life.”
With Woodley and Usman locked in for UFC 235, the question now shifts to what is next for Covington, a man who — at least at the time of this writing — remains the interim UFC welterweight champion. Covington insisted Monday that he is unwilling to accept any matchup other than a title fight for his next outing, and even he isn’t sure what’s coming.
“Who knows?” Covington said. “They’re probably going to try and screw me again and pass me up for someone else, but the thing is, there’s no one else. There’s no one else at the top of the mountain. I’m the only one up here. Who else is there?”