UFC president, Dana White has given his seal of approval on a welterweight title rematch between the incumbent, Kamaru Usman, and former interim division champion, Colby Covington as the next championship battle at 170lbs.
Per a report from Yahoo! Sports reporter, Kevin Iole — UFC leader, White informed him that the outspoken, Covington would be next in line to challenge past-foe, Usman for the undisputed welterweight championship. A location, date, or even event for the targeted pairing of Usman and Covington has yet to be determined.
Defending titleholder, Usman will attempt to make his fifth successful knockback of the welterweight throne in his next outing, having most recently scored a second win over two-time title challenger, Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Florida in April — via a spectacular second round knockout.
Following the victory, Usman was immediately linked to a rematch against former-foe, Covington, with the above-mentioned, White even penciling the Clovis native in for a re-run against Usman prior to his win over Masvidal, describing their first clash as one of the greatest fights he’s ever witnessed.
Whilst White appeared to be on board with a rematch of Usman and Covington, the former questioned the validity of the latter’s quickfire title rematch, questioning how he could have earned a re-run despite the fact he’s only competed three times since August of 2019.
“I’m not going to say I don’t want the fight,” Usman said when speaking about a potential rematch with Covington. “I want all the smoke, It doesn’t matter who it is. I want all the smoke. At the end of the day, it’s what have you done to earn this?“
“Your claim to fame can’t be, ‘Oh, I went five rounds and then the guy broke my jaw and finished me,’” Usman explained. “That can’t be your claim to fame. (Jorge) Masvidal went five rounds with me too. Tyron Woodley went five rounds with me. You can’t sit around and fight three fights in three years and expect to get a title shot when I just fought three times in nine months. The champion can’t be the most active guy in the division.“
According to Usman’s manager, Dominance MMA leader, Ali Abdelaziz, Usman was showing interest in the #6 ranked welterweight contender, Michael Chiesa as his next opponent, with one eye set on a possible June 12th. title defence at UFC 263, however, that pairing has failed to come to fruition.
As for Covington, the former American Top-Team staple retained his #1 rank in the promotion’s welterweight pile back in September at UFC Vegas 11 where he stopped former division kingpin, Tyron Woodley with a fifth round TKO after Woodley suffered a rib injury in a one-sided loss.
In the moments after the win, Covington made it clear that he would only be willing to stand opposite two potential opponents in his next appearance; Usman or Masvidal. And it appears as of now, he’s got his wish in the form of a rematch against Usman.
Headlining UFC 245 in December of 2019, Usman handed Covington a fifth round knockout loss in a hugely entertaining, bad-blooded affair.