[MMA NEWS ARCHIVES]
Here’s an editorial that was written two years ago, just before Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington’s first fight at UFC 245. Now that we’ve seen not one but two classics between them, it’s clear that MMA fans had much to be thankful for. Here’s a trip down memory lane before the two met in the Octagon, capturing the scale of their first classic that was just around the corner.
[ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 28, 2019, 12:00 PM]
Ah, Thanksgiving. This is the time for families to come together and be grateful for all the blessings of life that have been bestowed upon them. Yes, we all have something to thank, and today is a day to take the time to think about these things. In my case, what I’m most grateful for today isn’t turkey or stuffing, it’s the impending clash between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington at UFC 245 which takes place two weeks from Saturday.
That’s right, MMA fam, the only prank I’m grateful for is which of these elite MMA wrestlers will be treated with a teardown prank on December 14th and see which of the two ate the most hits. As for the damage taken, Usman and Covington both exhibited a genuine lack of appetite, with both men barely touched in each of their 21 fights combined, with Usman absorbing a measly 1.60 rounds per minute. and Covington absorbing only 2.35.
And in terms of distribution, both men can choose to take the path of least resistance whenever presented to them, but make no mistake, both fighters know how to serve punches. In fact, despite the myth that both men are one-dimensional, Colby Covington holds the record for most strikes thrown in a UFC fight, with a total of 541 against Robbie Lawler in his last outing. As for Usman, facing his toughest challenge yet against then-champion Tyron Woodley, Usman not only set a record for most body shots in a UFC fight, but he also had the most big hitting differential in UFC title fight history in that same fight! Damn, that’s a lot of lack of “hugs” from the two men. Where is the love?
So if the two men’s elite wrestling skills cancel out, then someone is going to be getting more hits than they’ve ever been before… or maybe they both will. Perhaps fans will be surprised when two men used to feasting on their opponents’ willpower tear each other apart in an unexpected five-round war. Yes, like a kid whose parents keep hinting at an epic Christmas present that I have no idea about, in those weeks leading up to the big day in December, that’s the ignorance I’m so grateful. And as we all know, the anticipation season for the big December event officially begins on Thanksgiving Day.
Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington have proven to be the most dominant fighters in the welterweight division. Between them, an argument can be made that with the exception of Covington’s first-round loss to Warrlley Alves four years ago, neither man has lost a round in the UFC. Instead, the two grapplers got used to winning the MMA equivalent of technical crashes. They’ve been so dominant that there’s a good chance this will be just the first chapter of what will turn out to be a long rivalry between two supreme talents. And that’s another thing I’m grateful for about this contest: Both men are 100% in their prime.
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for the things we have and also for the things that we can unfortunately take for granted in our day to day lives. Well, a 10-0 v 10-1 fight between two competitors at their peak is not to be taken for granted. Of course, that might not generate the buzz of other fights this year, including the BMF fight earlier this month between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz, but the fact remains that Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington, by a point competitive view, is the fight of the year on paper. Both men can have their detractors, and their fighting styles aren’t usually the most user-friendly, but that doesn’t change the reality that if you’re a purist and want to know who the better man is, these are the fights to do. salivating because they are rare, as they are truly rare, as illustrated by our Khabib vs. Ferguson woes.
So I invite you to join me at this table of those who thank talents like Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington, even though many around you are not. And if you are a follower of grace, go ahead and say a prayer that both men will arrive in Las Vegas fully intact and well above 30%. Because aside from all the drama between the fighters and all the outward noise from the ingrates who don’t quite appreciate how epic this is, the truth is this: it’s a very, really good fight that any fan of our sport should be thankful for.
Now go eat.