Sunday, December 4, 2022

Usman Says Edwards, Not The UFC, Forced His Hand To Fight Covington

Kamaru Usman says it wasn’t the UFC that “forced his hand” to rematch Colby Covington but rather Leon “Rocky” Edwards.

In two weeks’ time, fans will finally be treated to the highly anticipated rematch between UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. Covington claims that there is one reason and one reason only the rematch was successfully booked: the UFC forced Usman to accept the fight. Had Usman refused, the UFC was prepared to strip him of the title, according to Covington.

Usman has since laughed off this claim and has made it clear that he would love nothing more than to relive the thrill he experienced in the first Covington fight two years ago. However, he has also been on record in stating that Covington needed to “show him something” and earn the rematch beyond one lone victory since their initial encounter.

Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington
Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington, Credit: Getty Images

Based on his comments in a recent interview with Daniel Cormier, Usman seemed to have his eye on Leon Edwards as his next opponent. Unfortunately, Edwards continues to struggle to land that elusive title shot. The reigning champion shared his take as to why that is.

“Somebody has to keep it real with this guy,” Usman said of Edwards. “At the end of the day, let’s be honest here. We know this is a business. It’s a partnership between us and the promotion. It’s a partnership. You gotta give them something to work with. You gotta give them something to sell. And they have thrown you bone after bone after bone after bone. Let’s just be honest. Based on that last performance, you can’t go out there and do that with Nate Diaz. You can’t do that. You can’t do that,” Usman reiterated.

UFC 263: Leon Edwards’ Failed Audition Tape?

UFC 263: Nate Diaz being a legend vs Leon Edwards: Refuses fist bump,  applauded being put on his ass and landing a Stockton slap
Credit: Getty Images

Leon Edwards was cruising to a victory over Nate Diaz at UFC 263, only for Diaz to rock his world in the final minute of the bout. According to Usman, this bout was an audition for Edwards to determine if he was suited to be the right “business partner” in a title match against him. Despite Edwards getting his hand raised, the champion feels that the audition was a total failure.

“You have to audition. These are all my sons. You have to audition for me now,” Usman said. “You audition for me, then I will decide if you are that guy. And myself and the promotion will sit down and we’ll say, ‘I like his audition tape. Let’s go ahead and pick him next.’ And he went out there and he was auditioning.

“For a while, he did OK. But then, all of a sudden, the 25th minute, you shit the bed. You can’t do that! You can’t do that. You can’t do that. So that’s what forced the promotion’s hand and my hand—because this is a business now—to say, ‘You know what? Let’s go have fun with this dance partner who’s gonna run his mouth. And of course, people believe that this guy has a chance.”

UFC 268 is indeed expected to do some big business from The Mecca, Madison Square Garden in New York City. The event takes place Saturday, November 6, 2021, with a rematch of one of the best fights in promotion history: Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington.

Do you agree with Kamaru Usman? Did Leon Edwards “fail his audition” in his UFC 263 victory over Nate Diaz?