Kamaru Usman may not like Colby Covington, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect him.
Next month, Usman will defend his welterweight title against Covington in the main event of UFC 268. It’s a rematch of their first title fight back at UFC 245, that saw Usman retain his belt with a fifth-round TKO victory. Since the loss, Covington has been campaigning heavily for a rematch, claiming that Usman cheated during their fight and that the referee stoppage was premature. On top of that, Covington also baselessly accused Usman of taking performance-enhancing drugs his entire career, but though Covington certainly isn’t making any friends with his comments, the UFC welterweight champion says he still respects what Covington has done in the cage.
“He’s definitely up there,” Usman told Helen Yee. “I’m no hater, I give props where props are due. I think Colby probably is, I would put him in the top-15 welterweights of all time, as far as fighter-wise and skill-wise, the way that he fights. You may not like him personally, which I really don’t, but as far as skill-wise, he’s a good fighter. A very, very good fighter.”
Though Covington’s record backs up what Usman says, “Chaos” has been pretty quiet since their last meeting, having fought just once, a fifth-round TKO victory over former champion Tyron Woodley last fall. Usman, meanwhile, has continued his dominance over the welterweight division, adding three more title defenses to his record. But though he hasn’t fought much since their first bout, there has been one major change for Covington: a switch in fight camps. Even with the change though, “The Nigerian Nightmare” suspects that this fight will look much like their first.
“I think we were both content with understanding that was a Mano a Mano, we needed to duke it out, we needed to go back in the day and just throw fisticuffs and see who got the better of the other,” Usman said. “I told him, I said I would punish him for four and a half rounds and I would finish him and that’s exactly what I did. I think in this next fight he’s gonna try to be a little more strategic but he’s going to quickly realize that’s not gonna work so you’re just stuck in there getting beat up.”
Should Usman prove prescient, it would be his fifth welterweight title defense in a row, tying Matt Hughes for second all-time behind Georges St-Pierre. It would also put a cap on a tremendous year for Usman, who has scored knockouts over Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal already this year, with the Masvidal knockout being on the short list for KO of the Year. Another finish of Covington could well line Usman up for Fighter of the Year honors come December, however, Usman says he won’t force the issue. He’s content with simply beating Covington up again and if the knockout comes, all the better.
“It doesn’t matter. Finish or not, the way I fight I want to dominate a guy from start to finish,” Usman said. “I want to out-class a guy. I want a guy to go home, when they lay down in bed at night they’re like, ‘Sh*t, that guy’s better than me. There was nothing I can do to beat him.’ That’s what I want. That’s the feeling that I want to live with these guys each and every time they compete against me. So whether I finish him or not, I want him to have that feeling. But of course, the finish is great and that’s something that people highly anticipate from me right now.”
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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
New fight poster.
Kamaru Usman with the feel good story of the week.
A special moment on @SteveTVShow as @Usman84kg surprised his parents with the keys to a brand-new house!— UFC (@ufc) October 7, 2021
Watch the full episode by following "Steve on Watch" on Facebook! #SteveOnWatch @FacebookWatch pic.twitter.com/7Und2dhePf
I called out @criscyborg , she called me out too. It makes sense and clearly all of us want it, but the time isn’t right yet. I’m excited to see what @sineadkavanagh0 brings though for reals. @BellatorMMA— Alpha Cat Zingano (@CatZingano) October 7, 2021
Hope you make it to the event and get to enjoy the fight in person— #Bellator271 @CrisCyborg.Com Returns Nov 12th (@criscyborg) October 7, 2021
Thank you cat you beautiful soul ❤— sinead kavanaghKO (@sineadkavanagh0) October 7, 2021
My Respect to Dan for taking this fight.— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) October 7, 2021
I’m gonna sell all tickets for you this time mate @danthehangman
Hey @Justin_Gaethje you not happy I’m getting next to you in rankings?— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) October 7, 2021
Returning to kickboxing.
On 23 October I will make my comeback at @GLORY_WS— Gökhan Saki (@gokhantherebel) October 8, 2021
You guys wanted it, now you got it. I’m looking forward to see all my supporters at #COLLISION3 Let’s make new memories together. The show must go on
Great work by Glory and my management for making this happen. pic.twitter.com/i0Z1VYJsTS
Are you done with fishing and ready to fight? @gregor_the_gift— Arman Tsarukyan UFC (@ArmanUfc) October 8, 2021
There's nobody unranked that can hang with me, not many ranked that can give me a fight either. Lightweight title in 2023— Terrance McKinney (@twrecks155) October 7, 2021
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