Surging welterweight contender Kamaru Usman says he was offered a fight against fellow prospect Colby Covington, but Covington declined to sign the contract to do so.

Instead, Usman will face Emil Meek, best known for starching Rousimar Palhares in less than a minute prior to signing with the UFC. However, Usman is still disappointed that he wasn’t able to fight Covington.

The former Blackzillian revealed how it all went down on this week’s edition of The MMA Hour:

“We were offered Colby Covington, he said no. Right away he said, ‘No, I don’t want anything to do with that guy.’

“They tried to make fight again two weeks later. Then something transpired, I don’t know what it was, but they tried to make fight again, and Colby said no, absolutely not. Then for the third time they offered it, this was supposed to be my main event, Jan. 14, my main event. Obviously you see why it took so long get a headliner for that card. It was supposed to be me and Colby to headline that card. But he turned it down.”

Covington has become a high profile prospect since defeating Demian Maia and beginning his own brand of trash talk, which has caused him some trouble amongst Brazilian fans and fighters.

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Usman says that Covington strategically avoided him as well as other young, top welterweights in an effort advance in the division against what Usman says is older competition:

“Colby only wants to go after the guys he feels that are old and have an athletic advantage and cardio advantage to maybe try to push them into deep waters,” Usman said. “He knows that plays no part with me. You can’t out-wrestle me, you can’t out-strike me, you don’t have more power than me. Basically he sees this, he’s so afraid to where he was running to nobody but all the older guys who are on their way down. That’s all they want.”

What are your thoughts on the always-controversial Colby Covington? Is he avoiding fighters like Usman on his way to a title shot?

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Matt McNulty is a writer & reporter for LowKick MMA. He has previously worked as a staff writer for, a crime and MMA reporter for the New York Post, and also as a general assignment reporter for the New York Daily News. McNulty has professionally covered MMA since 2013.