The next UFC welterweight title fight is finally set. Champion Kamaru Usman will make his first career title defense against ex-interim champion Colby Covington. The pair will headline UFC 245 on pay-per-view (PPV) on December 14.
One man who is very familiar with both competitors is former 170-pound king Tyron Woodley. Woodley has fought Usman for five rounds – ultimately losing the welterweight crown to “The Nigerian Nightmare” – and is a former training partner of Covington.
“I think Usman’s scrambling abilities are better than Colby’s as far as once you get to a leg,” Woodley said. “Anytime you get to a single leg versus two legs, it’s always a scramble involved. So when you watch Kamaru Usman – like, my teammate Michael Chandler is his training partner – when you watch those guys scramble, going around, this is high-level scrambling.
“I think Usman has a slight edge that is annoying and frustrating to deal with and if he can’t get space, he may not be able to punch Colby, and that takes his advantage in striking away.”
It’s no secret that Woodley and Covington have a heated rivalry with one another, which hopefully gets settled inside the Octagon one day. However, Woodley gives respect where it’s due, praising Covington for his relentless cardio and motor.
Of course, Woodley notes Covington isn’t one to throw power shots, which likely plays into why he conserves so much gas in his tank.
“I think he really, really has a good motor,” Woodley said. “I think he’s in good shape. But it’s not like he’s in good shape because he’s landing explosive, powerful combinations. He’s not exerting his body, throwing powerful shots. He actually punched like he’s swinging little Ottoman cushions around. But when you really think about it, he never has to explode.”
What do you think about Woodley’s breakdown of Usman vs. Covington?