Colby Covington doesn’t just want a trilogy fight with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman – he wants to do something that’s never been done before in the history of the sport.
The welterweights most recently met in a rematch of the main event at UFC 268 with Usman taking a 2-0 lead in the series with a unanimous decision victory to retain his world title. They also competed in an all-time classic at UFC 245 in December 2019, where Usman claimed a TKO victory in the fifth round – a save Covington still disputes to this day.
In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Covington was asked what would be more meaningful, becoming the World Champion with a win over another title holder, or just beating Usman, title or no title.
“Beat Marty Fake Newsman, that’s it,” Covington said. “I’m a better fighter than him, [but] we’re so tied that it’s a fight that has to be over a championship series – a best of seven. It makes sense because it’s such a close fight on paper.
“We have so many similar attributes in MMA, with our game plans and styles. I think if we fought seven times, I beat it four [times]. “
Covington feels like he won the last three rounds of their headliner at Madison Square Garden, and he even thinks there is a point to be made that he also won the first five minutes. “Chaos” is 16-1 in his professional career outside of his two bouts with Usman, which includes wins over former champions Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos, as well as multiple-time challenger Demian Maia .
While this is usually a tough sell for the UFC in a trilogy fight with a team winning the first two fights, Covington believes that if Max Holloway can get a third fight with Alexander Volkanovski, a third meeting with Usman is a no-brainer.
“He even said after the fight that there could be a trilogy with Colby,” Covington said of Usman. “He knows deep in his heart that he hasn’t shown he’s the best fighter. He’s been with me for almost an hour now – two fights, 10 rounds – and he knows he hasn’t proven it. He didn’t leave me unconscious. He didn’t knock me out. He did not submit to me. He didn’t dominate my pillar to post from Round 1 to Round 5. No!
“I beat him in both fights, in several rounds. The last fight was clearly mine. I hurt him so badly in the fourth round he shouldn’t have made it. He’s lucky he had a minute’s break. But he didn’t prove that he was the best fighter. He has to come out and dominate to show he’s the best fighter, he hasn’t. Cool, you want to go out and tell people that you are the champion and that you are better than me, but deep down everyone knows the truth.
After the highly competitive championship game, UFC President Dana White praised Covington and his placement in the Division during the UFC 268 post-fight press conference.
“If Usman doesn’t exist, Colby Covington is the champion here,” White said. “Usman is fair, this guy is the best ever. He’s the best welterweight ever. He’s on his way to GOAT status and Colby Covington is a tough guy. I mean, he’s so hard.
Covington didn’t take White’s comments as complimentary and is hoping to prove that the UFC president, and anyone who doubts him, is wrong if they were to meet again later.
“I’m the champion, I don’t know what Dana is talking about,” Covington said. “I am the champion of America, it is a championship more important than their title. I’m Donald Trump’s favorite fighter and that’s way bigger than any UFC title. I am the champion, Dana. What are you talking about? Look at the 10 rounds we fought.
“If you look at all of the work on those 10 laps I’m easily up six [rounds] to four – maybe even seven to three. Just because I don’t have a plastic title that they award and hand out, okay that’s cool. This is what you guys think. Let’s go ask people who their champion is. I am the champion of the people, and I stand for the people. I’m just starting for people. They haven’t seen anything yet. I have a show and entertainment for them to improve their lives.
While graceful in defeat right after the rematch, Covington once again ignited the flames of his rivalry with Usman as he intends to seek another fight against him in the near future.
“He took a lucky lead those first two,” Covington said. “He had judges on his side. He had referees on his side. He cheated all the time, I haven’t cheated once. I didn’t sting his eyes, I didn’t grab a fence, I didn’t hit him on the back of the head when I warned the ref, ‘Don’t let him hit me in the ‘back of the head,’ he loves to pick on the back of the head because when you hit someone [there], it bypasses you. This is a weak spot, and if you hit someone on the back of the head, you will see stars very quickly.
“I am not a cheater. I’m no coward like him, and there’s no pride in Dana saying that [I’m the second best welterweight]. I will be the undisputed champion and the long haul will tell the truth about who the better fighter is. Either he’s going to retire because he got lucky and got out of my way, or he’s going to stay and I’m going to beat him up.