There’s certainly no debate surrounding Usman’s journey to the top of the welterweight mountain. His rise has been as impressive as it’s been destructive. “The Nigerian Nightmare” is unbeaten in 18 professional fights, and hasn’t lost since 2013. After debuting on MMA’s biggest stage in 2015, Usman defeated names like Leon Edwards, Warlley Alves, who’s responsible for the only blemish on Covington’s record, Sean Strickland, Demian Maia, and Rafael dos Anjos.
After going 9-0, Usman challenged Tyron Woodley for the welterweight throne at UFC 235. In dominant fashion, he controlled “The Chosen One” for five rounds, securing a comfortable unanimous decision victory. In his first title defense, the champ faced controversial contender Covington. After a back-and-forth war, Usman finished “Chaos” in the final round.
Usman Believes He’s Worked Harder Than Covington To Get Where He Is
While Usman’s journey to championship glory and GOAT contention has seen him beat top contenders and impress with both his dominance and recent finishes, many believe Covington’s climb to the top of the welterweight division has solely been down to his brash persona.
Fans will no doubt remember the debut of Covington’s outspoken personality at UFC Fight Night 119 in 2017. Having defeated Maia in his home country, “Chaos” addressed the Sao Paulo crowd in his post-fight Octagon interview, during which he described Brazil as a “dump” and branded the fans as “filthy animals.”
Since then, many have claimed Covington’s switch-up came from the fact his fighting style wasn’t exciting the UFC brass and getting him the opportunities he desired. During a recent interaction with Michael Bisping for BT Sport, Usman echoed that sentiment. He suggested the major difference between him and his arch-rival is the way in which they’ve progressed up the UFC ladder.
“I don’t really care (if Covington puts on an act). You know, because as a man, you have to have enough integrity. You have to be responsible for what you say. And at the end of the day, as both fathers here, you have to be able to go home and look your kids, look your daughter in the face and have her understand who you are. So, if she’s looking at something on television and saying, ‘Daddy, why’d you say that stuff? Is that you?’ And you gotta tell her, ‘ No, it’s just fake.’ How do you feel, as a man, doing that?
“I didn’t need to do that. That’s the difference between him and I. I stood behind my work, I continued to work, and I still got here, you know. He had to do that, he had to put that on to get here. So, what does that say about you as a man, looking for a shortcut?”
They’ll certainly be no shortcuts for Covington on Saturday if he wishes to have undisputed gold wrapped around his waist for the first time. With his recent defenses and his development under Trevor Wittman, many believe “The Nigerian Nightmare” will wrap things up inside Madison Square Garden quicker than he did at UFC 245. With that in mind, “Chaos” will be looking to shock the world come November 6.
Do you think Kamaru Usman will defeat Colby Covington for the second time at UFC 268?