On Saturday night, Kamaru Usman will defend his welterweight title in a rematch with Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261. Should Usman retain his title, UFC President Dana White has already said that top contender Colby Covington will be getting the next title shot, but “Chaos” isn’t sure that will come against Usman.
“I see myself finishing Usman if we fight again but to be honest, I think he’s gonna retire,” Covington told Helen Yee. “I think after this weekend he retires. He knows what’s ahead of him now, he knows I’m the next up for him and he knows he can’t beat me. He’s been in there with me, he knows how tough I am. He’s been in there with Jorge and he knows how easy he is so that’s why he’s taking this easy paycheck again when Jorge hasn’t done anything to earn this fight. He lost 50-43 and then he sat on the sideline ducking me and then all of a sudden he gets to fight for a title again? Something’s not adding up. I just honestly think that Usman and Masvidal are gonna retire before ever having to fight me because they know what’s gonna happen. The embarrassment that goes, the public embarrassment. They don’t want to get embarrassed in front of the whole world and that’s what I would do to them.”
Usman and Covington previously fought at UFC 245 in a competitive fight that saw Usman win via fifth-round TKO. Since then, Covington has disputed the outcome, claiming that the stoppage was premature and that Usman cheated by faking a low blow and eye pokes. Usman has obviously written these off as excuses from the former interim champion but admits that the prospect of just rematching opponents he’s already beaten doesn’t motivate him as much as new opportunities would. Unfortunately for Usman, he’s beaten most of the top welterweights right now and he’s categorically stated he won’t move up to challenge his friend Israel Adesanya for the middleweight belt. That could create a scenario where Usman does walk away at the top of the game and if that happens, Covington says he’s ready to win the belt over whoever the UFC deems appropriate.
“As the people’s champion, as America’s champion, I’m gonna do what the people want,” Covington said. “I’m gonna leave that in the hands of the UFC, in the hands of Dana White, in the hands of Hunter Campbell. I’m gonna let them make those decisions. I know I’m the best welterweight on the planet right now, I’m gonna keep training every single day like I am, and I’m gonna keep preparing for the second best welterweight in the world that is out there right now and when we fight for the title next, I’m gonna destroy him. I’m gonna smash him and I’m gonna show I’m the greatest welterweight of all time.”
But if Usman loses on Saturday, that could change the welterweight title dynamics dramatically. Though Dana White has proclaimed Covington next in line for a title shot, if Masvidal wins the title, a trilogy bout between the two seems like the logical next step and something Masvidal has already said he’s open to. This of course would leave Covington out in the cold, but “Chaos” isn’t afraid of that happening.
“(Masvidal)’s got almost 20 losses now. What I make of those comments is he’s just grasping for straws,” Covington said. “He has nothing else. What’s he gonna say? He knows he’s not gonna win that fight, he just wants to act confident like he’s gonna win that fight. He knows how this fight plays out 10 out of 10 times, Usman’s gonna get his hand raised 10 out of 10 times, it’s an easy fight for him and he knows it’s an easy fight for him.
“I know I’m next in line, it doesn’t matter who wins on Saturday night. Dana White said I’m next in line, I’m next in line. They can’t deny me. They’ve delayed me long enough, I will not be denied.”
And that works out well for Covington. Aside from having more clarity about his status as the next title challenger with an Usman win, Covington says that if he got to pick who he’d fight between the two, it would definitely be Usman so he can right the wrong he feels was done upon him at UFC 245.
“I want that rematch with Usman,” Covington said. “It’s been 18 months since I’ve fought him. A year and a half since last time I fought him. You don’t think I’ve gotten better in that time? I’ve weeded out all the bad things, all the negative energy in my life with American Top Team, all the drama over there at that gym...
“The only reason I wanted to fight Street Judas Masvidal is it’s a serious beef. I hate the guy, he hates me and that’s being nice about it. We were best friends for eight years. He’s walking around like he’s the king of Miami. He’s a piece of s*** person. He cheated on his wife, he cheated on his kids, he lies to his kids. He’s just not a good person so I want to expose him to the whole world. I was willing to go back in the rankings - because I’m the No. 1 welterweight in the world, Jorge Masvidal is No. 4 - so I was willing to go back in the rankings to do a favor for a personal grudge match for the UFC, but right now I’m not going backwards. I’m only going forwards. I want my belt and I’m coming for my belt.”
Either way, Covington won’t have to wait long to find out who he’ll fight. UFC 261 takes place tomorrow night at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL.
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