Speaking on the ESPN post-fight show, Covington dismissed the result as a given and looked ahead confidently to his rematch with Usman, which UFC President Dana White has said is next on the list.
It took eight minutes longer than when I would finish Jorge Masvidal every time we trained,” Covington said of Usman’s finish in the headliner of Saturday’s pay-per-view event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. “That guy’s a journeyman. What’s he got, 15, 20 losses on his record. You shouldn’t be happy and praising yourself for beating a journeyman like that. There’s a reason he’s a backstabber, a street Judas and a bum. If I lost the next 12 fights in a row, I still have a better record than journeyman Masvidal.”
Covington has repeatedly painted his former roommate and training partner in the same light as the top UFC welterweights have gone from friends to rivals, resulting in his departure from their longtime gym American Top Team.
Masvidal’s knockout loss was the first such result of his long career in MMA. Most observers expected Usman to use his wrestling to grind out a victory. But the right hand that sent “Gamebred” to the canvas wasn’t a surprise to Covington, whose wrestling background matches up with Usman more than the striking specialist Masvidal.
“I definitely knew it was a possibility [Usman would end the fight with strikes], because he puts the threat of the takedown, and that’s what Masvidal was worried about,” Covington said. “[Masvidal] didn’t want to get taken down and stopped, so he’s worried about getting taken down, and boom, he hits him with a right hand; he has his hands down.
“So I knew it was a possibility, but it’s a different style matchup when I’m fight Marty. He knows he can’t take me down. I’m going to take him down into deep waters, and I’m going to finish him. There’s no more fake nut shots next time.”
Covington has repeatedly said that Usman faked a low blow to get more recovery time as his high-pace attack began to produce dividends. Covington also has claimed referee Marc Goddard stopped the fight prematurely despite being badly hurt by a flurry of strikes by Usman in the fifth round.
With the result of UFC 261 just in the books, Usman’s timetable for a return will determine when Covington gets a chance to right what he feels was a litany of wrongs in their first meeting. Seven months removed from dispatching another rival, Tyron Woodley, he is convinced his second meeting with Usman will net the UFC welterweight title.
“I just put a higher pace on him next time,” Covington said. “I didn’t put enough pace on him next time. Just keep my hands up, and I know I’m going to get my hand raised next time.”
Check out Colby’s interview below.
Waiting in the wings.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) April 25, 2021