Covington challenged the UFC Welterweight Champion in the pay-per-view’s headliner. The event, which took place in December 2019, ended with “The Nigerian Nightmare” successfully defending his title with a fifth-round TKO win against “Chaos.”
That sentiment is echoed by Covington himself, who recently said that, despite nearly taking the champ to the final horn in a tight 25-minute battle, he wasn’t at full fitness going into the main event bout.
During an appearance on Submission Radio, the former interim champion revealed he wasn’t at his best in his 2019 meeting with Usman due to a bad illness leading up to the fight.
“I knew I wasn’t my best on December 14, 2019. It wasn’t my (best) performance, guys. But no one knew on the inside, behind the curtains, what really happened, the things that led up to the fight. I had food poisoning. That’s something I say is the truth. I mean, the UFC Performance Institute, they can attest to it. There’s people there who had to come by my hotel and give me a rehydration kit because I was puking 30 times before the fight.”
Adding to his case of food poisoning, Covington listed small injuries and the performance of referee Marc Goddard as further reasons behind his defeat to the 34-year-old Nigerian.
“So multiple things: little injuries, little things: the bad calls in the fight, the food poisoning, it wasn’t my best night, guys. And I knew I didn’t give my best (that) night, and he didn’t get the best Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington he’s ever seen December 14, 2019.”
But despite admitting it was his worst night, Covington still believes he had enough in him to defeat Usman, even against what he described as the best the champ has to offer.
“But I was able to get over it because, you know what? It was his best night, it was my worst night, and that’s what happened. I still should’ve beat him. It was that close.
“But you know, I’m a blue-collar, hard-working American. I’m just like any guy in this country. If we face a little adversity, we can’t dwell on it. We can’t cry over spilled milk. We can’t cry over the past. All I can focus on is the moment and the future. And right now in the moment, I’m the best I’ve been. And in the future, I’m gonna be better than I’ve ever been, and I’m gonna correct all the wrongs and all the weaknesses that I’ve had in my past.”
Despite Usman’s reluctance to give Covington a rematch, the two top welterweights are set to square off again later this year. In the UFC 268 main event in November, “Chaos” is set to have a second go at cracking the code that is “The Nigerian Nightmare.” Although an exact date and location is yet to be confirmed, the pair are reportedly likely to walk out in front of a sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd in New York City.
Elsewhere on what looks set to be a stacked event, former lightweight title challengers Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje are expected to clash in the co-main event as they aim to secure a second shot at attaining 155-pound gold.
Do you think Colby Covington can be successful against Kamaru Usman in their rematch at UFC 268?