After limping into the post-fight press conference with what he believes might be a broken foot, the always outspoken Covington argued that he actually deserved the nod on the judges’ scorecards despite saying Usman had “the better night” while he was still in the cage.
“I’m definitely not proud of my performance,” Covington said when addressing the media. “I should have won that. It was laser thin again. I honestly thought I had it 3-2. It was very close. He clipped me, I clipped him a couple times. Whatever media reporter in here said I went for 11 takedowns and had unsuccessful attempts, fake news. Do real journalism. That’s why you guys are journalists. You don’t have journalism degrees cause you put this fake news out. I obviously took him down so I broke that stat so you can’t hype him up anymore and say he’s never been taken down cause I took him down.
“I think we have unfinished business. I’ll give five more rounds out in the parking lot right now. I’m serious about that. I will see him again. I’m not done with him.”
The final scores read 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47 with all three judges giving Usman the win.
According to the scorecards, the judges all agreed on Usman winning rounds one and two, especially after he nearly finished Covington late in the second. Covington disagreed with that assessment and he definitely didn’t understand how judge Derek Cleary had Usman winning with the 49-46 score.
“I still think I was right there,” Covington said. “I didn’t think he clearly won [rounds] one and two. Maybe [round] two cause he clipped me but [round] one was very close. I don’t know you can just out right give it to him. It was a very close fight. Whatever judge put it 49-46 is out of their f*cking mind.”
Outside of the scoring issues, Covington also claimed that Usman actually cheated during the fight including a sequence early in the opening round after he went for a takedown that ended with the welterweight champion sprawling out of the way before landing a few punches on the ground.
“He’s a cheating coward,” Covington said about Usman. “I have no respect for that guy. He’s obviously a cheater. He’s cheated in multiple fights. He was holding my glove tonight against the cage. In the first round I went for a takedown and he went bam, bam, twice to the back of the head. I think Dan Miragliotta’s one of the top three best refs in the game, I told him before the fight, do not let this guy hit me in the back of the head and he did. If you go back and look at the footage, clearly in the back of the head.
“When you hit somebody in the back of the head, it definitely dazes you real quick. That caught me off guard and just more tactics of him cheating. You’ll never see me cheating or trying to cheat. That unfair shake again. I still think I got the job done but I promise you haven’t seen the last of me.”
Immediately after the fight ended, Covington and Usman actually shared a few words and shook hands in what appeared to be a moment where the rivals could bury the hatchet after putting on another instant classic following a similar pace set in the first fight back in 2019.
Whatever peace was brokered with Usman ended by the time Covington gathered himself and got ready to speak at the UFC 268 post-fight press conference.
“There was a little bit of respect for each other, even though he cut corners and I’ve never had to cut corners in my career,” Covington said about Usman. “I came here the long way. I earned this, blood, sweat and tears the long way. Never cheated, never cut comers.
“I’m just a blue collar kid from Thurston, Oregon, in these big fights. If that’s the pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter in the world, I just put on two epic fights with him, beat him in multiple rounds. So where does that put me? Why am I not in the pound-for-pound rankings? Oh yeah, I forgot, everybody hates me.”
Despite an 0-2 record against Usman with the loss on Saturday night, Covington knows it won’t take him very long to earn his way back to a third fight.
Considering the attention UFC 268 received, Covington has every confidence that he’ll be able to pick up an impressive win or two and he’ll be staring across the cage from Usman again.
“I can’t respect a guy like that,” Covington said. “Go look on YouTube. The guy dissected everything he cheats on and you see those injection marks all over his stomach, the guy’s not a clean fighter. I’m a clean fighter. I’m raw steel and twisted sex appeal. I did this the hard way.
“I’m a kid from Springfield-Thurston, Oregon and look at me. I just sold out Madison Square Garden, fourth highest gate in the company’s history, the pay-per-view numbers are astronomical. Take one guess who did all that? That’s me. I’m the one that sold this event. I’m the one that put all these asses in the seats. Whether you love me or hate me, you came to watch me tonight and that’s not debatable.”