Colby Covington doesn’t just want a trilogy fight with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman — he wants to do something that’s never been done before in the sport’s history.
The welterweights most recently met in a main event rematch at UFC 268 with Usman taking a 2-0 lead in the series with a unanimous decision victory to retain his world title. They also competed in an all-time classic at UFC 245 in December 2019, where Usman picked up a fifth-round TKO win — a stoppage that Covington disputes still to this day.
In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Covington was asked what would be more meaningful, becoming world champion with a win over a different titleholder, or simply beating Usman, title or no title.
“Beating Marty Fake Newsman, that’s it,” Covington said. “I’m a better fighter than him, [but] we’re so evenly matched that that’s a fight that needs to play out over a championship series — a best-of-seven. That makes sense to do because it’s a such a close fight on paper.
“We have so many similar attributes in MMA, with our game plans, and our styles. I think if we fought seven times, I beat him four [times].”
Covington feels like he won the final three rounds of their headliner at Madison Square Garden, and he even believes there’s an argument to be made he won the first five minutes as well. “Chaos” is 16-1 in his pro career outside of his two fights with Usman, which includes victories over former champions Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos, as well as multi-time title challenger Demian Maia.
While it’s typically a tough sell for the UFC on a trilogy fight with one side winning the first two fights, Covington believes that if Max Holloway can get a third fight with Alexander Volkanovski, a third meeting with Usman is a no-brainer.
“He even said after the fight there ‘might be a trilogy with Colby,’” Covington said of Usman. “He knows deep down inside of his heart that he hasn’t shown he’s the better fighter. He’s been in there with me for almost an hour now — two fights, 10 rounds — and he knows he hasn’t proven that. He hasn’t left me unconscious. He didn’t knock me out. He didn’t submit me. He didn’t dominate me pillar to post from Round 1 to Round 5. No!
“I beat him in both fights, in multiple rounds. The last fight was clearly mine. I had him so hurt in the fourth round that he shouldn’t have made it out. He’s lucky he got the one minute break. But he hasn’t proven he’s the better fighter. He needs to come out and dominate to show he’s the best fighter, he hasn’t done that. Cool, you want to come out and tell people you’re the champion and that you’re better than me, but deep down inside, everybody knows the truth.”
Following the highly competitive championship matchup, UFC President Dana White heaped praise upon Covington and his placement in the division at the UFC 268 post-fight press conference.
“If Usman doesn’t exist, Colby Covington is the champion here,” White said. “Usman is just, this guy’s the best ever. He’s the best welterweight of all time. He’s on his way to possible GOAT status and Colby Covington is one tough dude. I mean, he is so tough.”
Covington didn’t take White’s words as complimentary, and hopes to prove the UFC president, and anyone else who doubts him, wrong if they were to meet again down the road.
“I am the champion, I don’t know what Dana’s talking about,” Covington said. “I’m America’s champion, that’s a bigger championship than their title. I’m Donald Trump’s favorite fighter and that’s way bigger than any title in the UFC. I am the champion, Dana. What are you talking about? Look at the 10 rounds that we fought.
“If you look at the body of work over those 10 rounds, I’m easily up six [rounds] to four — maybe even seven to three. Just because I don’t have some plastic title that they award and hand out, okay, that’s cool. That’s what you guys think. Let’s go ask the people who is their champion. I’m the people’s champion, and I’m showing up for the people. I’m just getting started for the people. They’ve seen nothing yet. I’ve got a show and entertainment to give them to make their lives that much better.”
While he was gracious in defeat just after the rematch, Covington has once again sparked the flames of his rivalry with Usman as he intends to seek another fight against him in the near future.
“He’s gotten out to a lucky lead these first two,” Covington said. “He’s had judges on his side. He’s had refs on his side. He cheated the whole time, I didn’t cheat one time. I didn’t poke him in the eyes, I didn’t grab a fence, I didn’t hit in the back of the head when I warned the ref, ‘Don’t let him hit me in the back of the head,’ he loves to go for the back of the head because when you hit someone [there], it short circuits you. It’s a soft spot, and if you hit someone in the back of the head, you’re gonna see stars really quickly.
“I’m not a cheater. I’m not a coward like him, and there’s no pride in Dana saying that [I’m the second best welterweight]. I will be the undisputed champion and the long run is gonna tell the truth about who is the better fighter. He’s either gonna retire because he got lucky and got out of my way, or he’s gonna stay around and I will beat his ass.”