After a rumored bout at UFC 244 fell through, MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin has confirmed with multiple sources that Usman will defend his welterweight title against Colby Covington at UFC 245 on Dec. 14 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The matchup was first reported by ESPN.
This makes it three title fights now scheduled for UFC 245, with a featherweight championship bout between Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski, and a bantamweight championship bout between Amanda Nunes and Germaine de Randamie already in place.
Usman and Covington have been embroiled in a long-running feud that looked like it would be resolved at UFC 244 in New York City. However, negotiations reportedly broke down, with both Covington and Dana White sharing their sides of the story, and the bout appeared to be in limbo after Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz were instead named as the Madison Square Garden headliners.
Now, the stage is set for Usman’s first title defense to be against Covington, the man widely considered to be the rightful No. 1 contender.
Usman (15-1) is yet to be defeated in 10 UFC bouts and last competed at UFC 235 this past March, where he won a lopsided unanimous decision over Tyron Woodley to become the welterweight champion. Overall, he has won 14 straight, including wins over top contenders Rafael dos Anjos, Demian Maia, and Leon Edwards.
Sporting an identical 15-1 pro record, Covington has won seven straight fights, earning an interim title with a win over dos Anjos in June of last year. He would be stripped of that title after a unification bout with Woodley fell through, but go on to continue his streak and hold his spot in the contenders’ line with a unanimous decision nod over former champion Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC on ESPN 5 in August.