Sunday, January 23, 2022

Usman: Covington’s Claim To Title Shot Can’t Be 5 Rounds & Broken Jaw

Kamaru Usman has finally provided a detailed explanation as to why he believes Colby Covington is undeserving of a world title shot. 

In recent weeks, whenever Colby Covington’s name has been mentioned to Kamaru Usman, he has repeated the same lines about how the entire welterweight division needs to show him more activity, the implication being that Covington hasn’t done that. In a recent interview with ESPN, Usman was directly asked if he wants to fight Colby Covington again. According to the champion, it’s not a matter of wanting the fight vs. not wanting the fight; it’s more a case of who truly deserves the world title shot the most.

“I’m not gonna say I don’t want the fight. I want all the smoke,” Usman said. “It doesn’t matter who it is. I want all the smoke. At the end of the day, it’s, ‘What have you done to earn this?’ Your claim to fame can’t be, ‘Oh, I went five rounds, then the guy broke my jaw and finished me. That can’t be your claim to fame…

UFC 245 results, highlights: Kamaru Usman outlasts Colby Covington in  hellacious war for late TKO victory - CBSSports.com
Image Credit: Jeff Bottari 

“And you can’t sit around and fight three fights in three years and expect to get a title shot when I’ve just done three fights in nine months. The champion can’t be the most active guy in the division. I’ve been through the whole division, and now I’m coming back around. So everyone just kind of sitting around and then saying, ‘Oh, I’m next, I’m next, I’m next,’ I don’t really believe in that. I mean, show me something. Show me some activity.”

Usman Contrasts Colby Covington’s Worthiness To Other Title Contenders

After Kamaru Usman opted to provide a rematch to Jorge Masvidal while continuing to ignore Covington, this led Covington to brand Usman as a coward who is looking for easy fights. Usman’s counter to this seems to be that the Masvidal finish at UFC 251 was unsatisfying while breaking Covington’s jaw in a TKO finish at UFC 245 was. Moreover, fighters like Leon Edwards and Michael Chiesa have actually put together winning streaks, whereas Covington’s current win tally since his last loss sits at 1.

“Leon Edwards, granted, he kind of was stuck in that funky spot to where he couldn’t fight for two years, that kind of set him back, but I mean, look at the guy,” Usman began. “Since he fought me, he has put together an impressive résumé, just running through and putting together, what is it, eight-fight win streak or something like that? You’ve got Michael Chiesa putting a four-fight win streak on. You’ve got Vicente Luque coming back, putting on a four-fight win streak and finishing these guys. 

Leon Edwards
Image Credit: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

“So why does (Covington) deserve this shot? Just because he went to five rounds and I broke his jaw—and finished the fight? So it doesn’t really make sense to me.”

Being that Usman’s stance is based on activity and meritocracy, it is not permanent. Essentially, Usman is arguing that if Covington can be as productive inside the Octagon as he has been in the media, not only would the champion be open to the rematch, but he would revel in the violence. 

“I understand it’s a fun fight.  It’s an incredible fight,” Usman said. “It’s a fight that I like because I went to that place. I went to that violent place. And of course, I wouldn’t mind going there again. I just went there last week. So I wouldn’t mind going there again. It just needs to make sense. And when it makes sense, absolutely. We can do it.”

The elephant in the room is that Dana White has already committed to the fight privately with Covington and publicly with the fans. Furthermore, as the only fighter to give Usman a real test in his illustrious career in one of the greatest title fights in UFC history, Covington remains the most popular and overt next challenger for Usman’s title. 

Input from boss and fans aside, Usman’s argument is that meritocracy should win out over politics and popularity. By that standard, says Usman, Covington is not the #1 contender, regardless of the number assigned to him in the official UFC rankings.

Did Kamaru Usman persuade you that Colby Covington should not be next? Or do you still believe he is the rightful next contender?

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