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5 reasons why Colby Covington will avenge his loss to Kamaru Usman in a potential rematch

Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington
Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington
Sai Krishna
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 24 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman takes on Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 this weekend, but many believe the title shot should've gone to Colby Covington.

After all, Covington has recorded a win over former champ Tyron Woodley after his narrow loss to Usman, while Masvidal hasn't been seen in action since suffering a one-sided UD defeat to 'The Nigerian Nightmare'.

But Usman called Masvidal out, and the UFC decided to give 'Gamebred' the chance to redeem himself with a full camp. UFC president Dana White recently confirmed that Covington is next in line for the welterweight title, and it seems inevitable that the two men will run it back.

Here are 5 reasons why Colby Covington will avenge his loss to Kamaru Usman in a potential rematch.


#5 Colby Covington has the wrestling to cause Kamaru Usman problems

Kamaru Usman might run into problems if he attempts to wrestle Colby Covington
Kamaru Usman might run into problems if he attempts to wrestle Colby Covington

The first meeting between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington saw neither man attempt to take the fight to the ground. Both fighters were more than willing to stand and trade, largely due to their stellar wrestling backgrounds.

While Usman has never been taken down in the UFC, Covington - as a two-time NCAA Division I All-American and two-time Pac-10 champion - is an accomplished wrestler who can compete with the best in MMA.

Covington's kickboxing has improved consistently over his time in the UFC. It is no longer as reliant on volume and intensity as it once was, and he has been able to get better both skill-wise and in his decision-making. Usman fell back on his jab in the previous meeting - as well as against Gilbert Burns - but that might not guarantee him success this time around.

Usman might be forced to attempt to take down Covington, which isn't an easy task. And even if he does, the #1 welterweight contender has decent defense off his back, with 5 wins by way of submission as well.

Covington may not be a BJJ wizard like Burns, but his wrestling credentials could certainly cause Usman problems in a rematch.


#4 Colby Covington can edge a decision victory with a few minor adjustments

Colby Covington has all the tools to end Kamaru Usman
Colby Covington has all the tools to end Kamaru Usman's reign as UFC welterweight champion

If there's one drawback in Colby Covington's game, it's the apparent lack of power in his fists. He has only 4 KO/TKO victories in 18 fights, 8 of which have gone to a decision, and might also struggle to take Usman down.

But it isn't difficult to imagine a world where Covington can make a few minor adjustments and edge a decision win over Usman. The first thing he will have to do is prevent getting hit as often as he did in the first fight, and his quick head movement and nimble footwork will help him in this regard.

We saw Usman attack Covington's body repeatedly in the first fight, slowing him down before eventually stopping him. But if 'Chaos' manages to avoid significant damage while throwing a few smart, typically high-volume combos to keep Usman at a distance, the fight could easily go the distance and end in his favor.


#3 Colby Covington has got under Kamaru Usman's skin multiple times

Colby Covington has rattled Kamaru Usman mentally on a number of occasions
Colby Covington has rattled Kamaru Usman mentally on a number of occasions

With his heel persona amplifying his lack of political correctness, Colby Covington has carved a niche for himself as a fighter who simply doesn't care what people think. And he's been able to get under Kamaru Usman's skin multiple times.

Covington threw a number of racist insults at Usman. After receiving a post-win call from then US President Donald Trump, he asked the Nigerian-born fighter if his "tribe gave him smoke signals."

He constantly referred to Usman with the borderline xenophobic name "Marty Fakenewsman", and called him "boring" and "ugly". 'Chaos' even frequently claimed that Usman was on performance-enhancing drugs.

The constant insults and name-calling took a toll on Usman, who once snapped when he was on air as an analyst. Seeming to forget his role on set, the 33-year-old engaged in a heated debate with Covington that soon morphed into a shouting match.

It could be said that Usman used this as motivation, but there's no denying the fact that emotion plays a major role in any fight, given the primal nature of the sport. Even in his previous fight against former training partner Burns, the UFC welterweight champion was unexpectedly rocked early and could've been finished had the Brazilian shown greater application.

Covington's mental warfare could prove to be his biggest trump card in a rematch against Usman.


#2 Colby Covington has the cardio to match Kamaru Usman

Colby Covington is always in pristine shape
Colby Covington is always in pristine shape

A frightening mix of strength and conditioning, Kamaru Usman is always in shape. He's in - or close to - his physical peak at 33 years old, and always enters a fight ready to go the distance.

But if there's one man in the UFC welterweight division who can match Usman in terms of cardio, it's Colby Covington. Relentless with his volume and pressure, the Oregon native has made a name for himself as a fighter who's always on the offensive.

Covington has managed to drown most of his opponents with uninterrupted strikes mixed with explosive takedowns. And although he's prone to cuts, he has proven many times that he has a solid chin.

Importantly, Covington has the cardio and heart to go 25 minutes with Usman, just like he almost did in the first fight.


#1 Colby Covington is the only man to have pushed Kamaru Usman to the limit in the UFC

Colby Covington pushed Kamaru Usman to the limit in the first meeting
Colby Covington pushed Kamaru Usman to the limit in the first meeting

Kamaru Usman has cleared out the UFC welterweight division. With wins over Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, Jorge Masvidal, Tyron Woodley, Gilbert Burns, Demain Maia and Rafael dos Anjos, he's one of the most dominant champions in UFC history.

More importantly, Usman has never really been tested - apart from the first meeting with Covington. He has gone on record stating that he was pushed to the limit at UFC 245, and the knowledge that Covington isn't someone he can breeze past will be a major factor heading into the rematch.

In fact, many fans believed that Covington was ahead on the scorecards when the fight was stopped in the final round, while many others lamented that the stoppage was a shade too early. Stylistically, Usman and Covington are similar fighters, and the champion could have a bad match-up on his hands.

Covington knows what it's like to take rounds off Usman, and the fact that 'The Nigerian Nightmare' needed to dig very deep to pull off a win sets the stage up for a tantalizing rematch.


Published 24 Apr 2021
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