After dethroning Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 in 2019, Usman made his first title defense nine months later against former interim champion Covington. After four competitive and enthralling rounds of action inside Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, “The Nigerian Nightmare” successfully retained his gold with a fifth-round TKO.
While “Chaos” called for an immediate rematch, Usman went on to defend the belt against Jorge Masvidal and Gilbert Burns. After successfully knocking “Gamebred” out at UFC 261 in April this year, the champ has returned to his rivalry with Covington. They’ll collide for the second time in the UFC 268 main event next month.
Despite failing to capture the title in 2019, Covington certainly gave Usman the toughest test of his welterweight dominance to date. Speaking to ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, former Interim UFC Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje, who, like Usman, trains under renowned striking coach Trevor Wittman, was asked to give his prediction for the blockbuster rematch. Despite expressing his hatred towards the challenger, “The Highlight” acknowledged Covington’s talent inside the Octagon.
“Man, it’s hard to not be biased. I dislike Colby, like so much. So I wanna see him [Usman] just really put it on him. But he’s a damn good fighter that little fucker. You know, piece of shit person, but he’s a good fighter, a good wrestler, hungry, you know, stupid and crazy, like we all are.”
Nevertheless, Gaethje doesn’t believe the 33-year-old has what it takes to have his hand raised against Usman. Not only does he believe the champ will successfully hold onto the 170-pound title, but he expects the contest to be over quicker than it was at UFC 245 when the pair run it back on November 6.
“I think it’s gonna be a great fight. That was a great fight we had last fight. Colby gave him the best fight that he’s had in a long time, or ever. So, you know, I think Kamaru’s time, here with us, with Trevor, his confidence, his gain in confidence, will give him the ability to put him [Covington] away faster this time.”
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 268, Kamaru Usman or Colby Covington?