UFC president, Dana White appears to be keen to push through previously laid out plans for a UFC welterweight championship rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington next — in a re-run of their UFC 245 clash back in December of 2019.
Headlining UFC 261 in April at a sold-out Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida — defending welterweight kingpin, Usman scored a second career knockback against Jorge Masvidal, as he managed a massive second round knockout via a huge right hand and follow up ground strikes, rendering the Floridian unconscious.
Prior to the event, White had earmarked a rematch between Usman and Covington if the Auchi native was to overcome Masvidal in Jacksonville, and following his victory, the broadcast team immediately panned to Covington, who was sitting front row in attendance.
In their first showdown, Usman handed the former interim welterweight titleholder a brutal fifth and final round knockout, breaking his jaw earlier in the fight, which was hugely competitive, with many scoring the fight level between the two ahead of the final frame.
Following his stoppage of Masvidal, Usman maintained that he wasn’t shying away from a re-run against Covington, however, questioned what the outspoken wrestler had done to warrant a rematch, given the fact he had compete just three times since 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.“
Usman’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz had even mentioned a potential showdown between his client and the #6 ranked challenger, Michael Chiesa — possibly for UFC 263 on June 12. — however, that pairing failed to materialise, with the promotion instead booking a middleweight re-run between Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori as the event’s headliner.
Per a report from Yahoo! Sports reporter, Kevin Iole, the aforementioned, White had confirmed to him during an Instagram live session last night that former interim gold holder, Covington would challenge Usman for the undisputed welterweight crown next.
With the promotion targeting a rematch of Usman and Covington, it will mark the second time Usman has attempted to defend his welterweight throne against the same opponent, following his April win over Masvidal which came after a July unanimous decision last year.
Headlining in his last Octagon walk, Covington met with former teammate and welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley at UFC Vegas 11 in September, besting the St. Louis native over five rounds in a one-sided grappling showcase, before Woodley suffered a rib injury, resulting in a TKO win for Covington.