Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington have had a heated rivalry based around Covington’s remarks and antics, but Usman reveals he can appreciate them to a certain extent.
Usman and Covington have exchanged verbal jabs at one another over the past months, but things came to a head in the post-show events of UFC Newark, which saw Covington defeat Robbie Lawler. After his win, the controversial Covington took to the mic and made disparaging remarks against Usman in a call out and poked fun of Matt Hughes’ life-threatening incident where he was hit by a train.
During a video interview with Chael Sonnen, Usman says while he understands Covington pushing a heel persona and tries to get under people’s skin, he feels Covington doesn’t know when to quit while he’s ahead.
“So this is the thing that I don’t understand,” Usman said. “I understand what he’s doing. I get it, and I appreciate it. As much as I don’t like him, I appreciate it what he is doing, but the problem is, now you blur those lines, because if you actually watch that fight, you watch what happened at the end, yeah he talked all that about Robbie, this and that, basically trying to sell the fight, I get that. Then after the fight, you’re shaking hands, you actually watch him say, ‘I love you, man.’ Basically stating that I want you to understand that I’m just selling this fight here, that it’s no hard feelings.
I get that, but then you get back on the mic and you say something as personal as that, that blurs all lines from entertainment to personal because that is personal. I’m pretty sure that’s not something Matt Hughes would say, ‘Hey, yeah, go ahead and use that. That’s fine. Talk about that.’
“I think that was too far. I think he’s done a few things that are too far because whoever’s writing his lines, whoever is advising him on this is the direction to play this heel, I don’t think they’re doing a good job of toeing that line, of playing the character, because now it’s the point that you can’t put that character down. You have to walk, there has to be security with you, because now even civilians have a problem with you.”
As a result of Covington’s win last weekend, UFC President Dana White said he is granting Covington, who was briefly the interim welterweight champion last year, the first title shot at Usman. But Usman says until he sees a contract with their names on it, he won’t rule out former champion Tyron Woodley, Jorge Masvidal, or even Leon Edwards as possible challengers.
Nevertheless, Usman says he’s preparing to return to the Octagon at either UFC 244 on Nov. 2 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, or at UFC 245 on Dec. 14 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
“Nothing is official until I sign on the line, so yeah, nothing is official,” Usman said. “This is all merely speculation and what we want and what we don’t want. I would like to think it’s between those three [Covington, Masvidal, Woodley], but I’d say it’s more a dark horse, is Leon Edwards who kind of just thrusted himself in the mix, so I would give it a four-man circus going on right now.”
Quotes via MMAJunkie