At UFC 268, Usman and Covington will clash in a sequel of their 2019 classic. It took two years to get these elite welterweights back in the cage together, and Covington claims there is one key reason for that.
Prior to the fight finally becoming official, the outspoken welterweight continued to say that Usman was blatantly ducking him. He even said that the UFC would need to force Usman’s hand to make the fight a reality. And earlier this week in an ESPN interview, Covington said that is exactly what ultimately happened.
According to Covington, had Usman refused to accept the fight, he would have been stripped of the welterweight title. When Usman was asked about this claim in a recent interview with Daniel Cormier, he first let out a hearty laugh before issuing the following reply.
“How they gonna take the belt? I think I’m the only champ who fought two times already this year. I’m not sure. But I believe I’m the only champ. It’s gonna be three in a calendar year. What champ’s really doing that?” Usman said. “I chose to take this fight because…there’s something you feel when you get into a certain fight to where you lose yourself in the fight, that you’re just having fun. And it was something in that fight to where I was having fun. I’m smiling. I was never tired at all. I’m smiling. I’m laughing at him. I’m talking to him. I’m calling him— ‘Quit tryin’ to be a bitch. Quit cryin’’. I’m talking to him in there the whole time.”
Usman says that feeling of enjoyment lingered even after the fight was over. And it was this thrill that led to the champion accepting the rematch against Covington, he says.
“And there’s something about when I got done with [the fight], I was like, ‘Wow, that was fun.’ I got hit a lot. I know I can’t get in these many fights that often because, of course, I gotta protect my health. But that was fun. I would love to do that one more time.
And he seems to be that guy that’s talking up a good game that he’s good enough to try to push me there again. So I wanna see it. I wanna see it.”
Yes, we all would love to see it and we will have the opportunity to do so for the second time in just a little over two weeks.
UFC 268 takes place from Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 6, 2021. This rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington will serve as the night’s main event.