Throughout the build-up to their rematch for the welterweight title Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York, Colby Covington disdainfully referred to champion Kamaru Usman as “Marty Fakenewsman.”
Well, this isn’t fake news: Usman is the best fighter in the world, and it’s not particularly close at this point.
He survived a spirited upset bid from Covington to pull out a unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 268 and retain his welterweight title. Scores were 48-47 twice and 49-46. Yahoo Sports had it 48-46 for Usman.
Usman’s power was a huge difference in the fight. Not only did he drop Covington twice with left hooks at the end of the second round, it was obvious that Covington fought more strategically than he had in their first fight at UFC 245 because he knew how hard Usman hit.
— UFC (@ufc) November 7, 2021
Covington lost the bout but gained a measure of respect from Usman, never backing down in the face of an elite and, unbelievably, improving champion.
“There was a lot of trash talk and a lot of bad blood, and I’m sure there will still be some, but this guy is a tough son of a b****,” Usman said. “He’s tough as s***. I wanted to get crazy and I wanted to get him out of there, but I knew with a guy like this, he was going to creep back in it.”
He’s right. Covington was badly hurt at the end of the second round and looked as if he might be on the way out. But he came out very strong and had Usman on his heels for much of the third.
Covington has lost three times in 19 fights and two of them were to Usman. But he was better than he was at UFC 245, when he was stopped in the fifth, and he gave the champion some anxious moments.
“I had my moments,” Covington said. “I wobbled him a couple of times, but I wasn’t able to capitalize. It was his night. He had a better night. … But you haven’t seen the best of Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington. I’ll be back in the gym on Monday.”
Usman’s win was his 19th in a row dating back to 2013, and his 15th in a row in the UFC.
He’s basically lapped the field at this point. He’s got two wins over top-rated Covington. He knocked out No. 2 Gilbert Burns in February. He’s been dominant and he’s getting better.
He’ll be a handful for anyone at 170 and until he moves to 185, he may not get a legitimate challenge.