Prior to UFC 261 in April, it appeared reigning welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman already had the next challenger to his throne set, if he could overcome Jorge Masvidal for the second time in his career. Promotional president, Dana White outlined former interim champion, Colby Covington as the next title chaser, however, Usman has pumped the brakes on an immediate rematch.
Headlining the pay-per-view event from the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida — Usman stopped Masvidal in breathtaking fashion, finishing the Floridian with a stunning second round knockout.
The victory came as Usman’s whopping eighteenth straight, as well as his fourth successful defence of the undisputed welterweight championship.
Collecting the title from Tyron Woodley in March of 2019, Usman would go on to lodge a Fight of the Year candidate against the above-mentioned, Covington that December, eventually scoring a fifth round knockout triumph.
In the time since, recent MMA Masters mover, Covington has featured just once, returning to the winner’s enclosure with a fifth round TKO win over common-foe, Woodley in September last, after the St. Louis native suffered a rib injury in a one-sided loss.
Given the aforenoted, White’s admiration for the fight between Usman and Covington, which he heralded as one of the greatest of all time, he noted his intentions to book them opposite each other again if Usman could defend against Masvidal in April.
Speaking with ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto recently, Auchi-born champion, Usman insisted that he wasn’t avoiding a re-run against Covington, however, questioned how the Clovis native had earned a title rematch, having competed just three times in the last three years.
“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.“
Recently, also speaking with Okamoto, Usman’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, who heads up, Dominance MMA — claimed that his client expressed his interest in a return on June 12th. at UFC 263 from Glendale, Arizona against Michael Chiesa, and the Washington native was one of the contenders considered as next opponents by the champion himself.
“I’ve been through the whole division and now I’m coming back around,” Usman said. “So everyone sitting around and going, ‘I’m next, I’m next, I’m next!’ I don’t really believe in that. Show me something. Show me some activity. Leon Edwards, granted he was kind of stuck in that funky spot where he didn’t fight for two years and that set him back but look at the guy. Since he fought me he’s put together an impressive resume. Putting together an eight-fight win streak or something like that.“
“You’ve got Michael Chiesa putting together a four-fight win streak, you’ve got Vicente Luque coming back and putting on a four-fight win streak and finishing these guys, so why does he (Covington) deserve this shot?” Usman asked. “Just because he went five rounds and then I broke his jaw and finished the fight? That doesn’t make sense to me.” (H/T MMA Fighting)