Colby Covington Says Kamaru Usman Accepted Rematch Because UFC Threatened To Take Belt
Colby Covington claims that the Kamaru Usman rematch only happened because the current welterweight champion was given an ultimatum.
Covington (16-2) is set to take Usman (19-1) on again for another shot at snatching the UFC welterweight belt on November 6 at UFC 268 in Madison Square Garden. Covington told ESPN that the main event between the two fighters is happening because the UFC told Usman to accept the rematch or be stripped of the welterweight title strap.
“It’s been such a journey,” Covington said. “It’s been tough. It wasn’t supposed to happen. They did not want it to happen. His manager, they were refusing. They were trying to find every way in the book out of fighting this rematch.
“They didn’t want this fight and the only reason they have to take it is the UFC gave them no choice. They said, ‘Hey, you fight this fight or we just strip you. It’s one or the other,” he added. “You’ve got to come out and prove you’re the best in the world. There needs to be no controversy surrounding this fight.’ So it’s been tough.”
Covington still speaks ill of his and Usman’s first matchup in December 2019.
Usman stopped Covington in the fifth round via TKO, but Covington was against the stoppage, saying he was “robbed” of a fair fight. He accused referee Marc Goddard of being biased.
Goddard cited two incidents against him – low blow and eye poke – during the fight to lean in favor of Usman, he claims.
Despite the controversy, their first meeting was a “Fight of the Year” candidate that year.
Covington wanted an immediate rematch, but was forced to wait on the sidelines as Usman defended his title against Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal twice.
Covington, meanwhile, took a fight against former champion Tyron Woodley in 2020, which he went on to win via TKO, and used it to ask Usman for a rematch.
And eventually, he got it.
UFC 268: Usman vs. Covington II will air live on ESPN+ and pay-per-view on November 6. The prelims start at 8 p.m. ET and the main card will start at 10 p.m. ET.